A medical technician works at a drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility at the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company in New York on September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

New York State health officials have confirmed the first patient on Long Island to have contracted the even more contagious strain of Covid-19 first found in the United Kingdom.

State Department of Health officials found a UK strain case in Nassau County that was among three new cases of the strain confirmed statewide. Two appear to be tied to the recent discovery of the first case of it in Saratoga in upstate New York, but the Nassau case is unrelated.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters of the new cases Saturday during his latest pandemic news briefing.

The development comes after the number of cases on Long Island recently doubled from 100,000 to 200,000 in about two months.

The governor has said the new strain is raising concerns about threats to hospital capacity should it spread rapidly in the state.

Cuomo said on Monday that a man in his 60s living in a town north of Albany has the new strain. The man, who is recovering, had not traveled recently, suggesting community spread is taking place.

New York has carried out thousands of tests for the new strain. Cuomo has said it could be a “game changer” if the new strain increases hospitalizations and forces regions to close down.

With Reuters 

Related Story: Long Island Covid-19 Cases Double to 200,000 in 2 Months

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