ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Wadsworth Laboratory has begun research into a new strain of COVID-19 which was first spotted in Britain, Governor Cuomo has announced. Wadsworth has looked at over 3,700 virus sequences identified in New York so far, but has yet to find the more contagious U.K. variant present in any of the samples.

The governor also urged officials to either ban travelers from the United States, or require testing before entry. He has already secured passenger testing agreements with three airlines that fly into JFK airport.

Boris Johnson says it’s 70% more transmittable than the original COVID virus. That would be a real problem. 120 countries do a ban or require testing. The United States does nothing. I never said we should ban the flights. I said countries have banned or are requiring testing but that the United States should do something, that the United States should either ban or test.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Wadsworth Laboratory and the New York State Department of Health already have sample collection agreements in place with six hospitals, including Albany Medical Center and Saratoga Hospital, and are continuing to make arrangements with other hospitals.

The six hospitals which currently have agreements in place are:

  • Montefiore
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Northwell Long Island
  • University of Rochester
  • Albany Medical Center
  • Saratoga Hospital