TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—The Tompkins County Health Department has announced that three more people have tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19, a more contagious but (as far as evidence shows) not more lethal version of the coronavirus.

These three are in addition to the first case of the UK variant in the county, which was found in mid-January. The three new people testing positive for the variant have been ordered into isolation. The first case in New York State was discovered on Jan. 4, 2021.

The health department said that one of the cases was traced back to travel, and that the other two are household contacts of that case. Public Health Director Frank Kruppa said the department is confident that they have been able to contain the spread, hopefully to those three cases.

The cases were sequenced through Cornell University’s COVID-19 testing lab as part of that lab’s testing services for Cayuga Health System and the region,” according to the department’s announcement. Test results for the first case identified were sequenced for the strain due to an individual indicating that they had relevant international travel. Close contacts were subsequently tested, and their results were sequenced. Test results are sequenced in cases of relevant travel or close contact with another individual with the variant. The regional New York State Department of Health office and New York State Wadsworth Public Health Laboratory have been notified of the results.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com