A more contagious strain of COVID is spreading across New York State and has officially been discovered in the Mid-Hudson Region.

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In early January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced The UK variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus was detected in a person from Saratoga County. The man has had no known travel history, which suggests community spread of the highly contagious UK strain in New York. It was the first known case of UK strain in the Empire State.

The new strain is believed to be as much as 70 percent more transmissible. On Sunday, Cuomo confirmed there are now 18 known cases of the variant in New York State, including the first from the Mid-Hudson Region.

Cuomo announced on Sunday an additional case of the UK variant was identified in Westchester County. More information about the strain in Westchester County wasn't released.

"We have the weapon that will win this war and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but how fast we get there depends upon two things-our own individual actions and the federal supply, which is where we are facing the greatest challenge," Cuomo said. "With the federal government essentially opening the floodgates of eligibility, more than 7 million New Yorkers are now able to receive the vaccine. That sounds nice, but when they did that, they not only failed to increase supply, they actually sent us less than we were expecting. New York has moved heaven and earth to create one of the most expansive vaccination networks in the nation and we are getting shots in arms as quickly and efficiently as possible-we just simply need more vaccine. It's time for the federal government to step up, increase the supply and actually help the state defeat this virus once and for all."

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