NEW YORK — When the first case of the United Kingdom strain of the coronavirus was found in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday it was discovered in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County.
The governor said the state's Wadsworth Laboratory confirmed a 60-year-old man, who had no recent history of travel, had contracted the new strain of the virus.
Also disclosed was the information that the man was associated with a Saratoga Springs business: N. Fox Jewelers at 404 Broadway.
Cuomo said the man was symptomatic but doing well.
Subsequent testing in Saratoga Springs found that two of the five other store employees were confirmed to be positive for coronavirus, but as yet it wasn't known whether they were infected with the U.K. strain.
State officials released the name and location of the store because it was a retail establishment and the public was warned that anyone who visited the establishment from Dec. 18 to Dec. 24 should be tested.
The jewelry company posted messages to its customers and the community after the announcement was made, saying it takes the health and safety of the staff and seriously and said it was voluntarily extending the store's closing.
The store also posted its gratitude for the "outpouring of support" it received.
"Throughout the last several days, you have all shown us what it means to be a part of a community, which is more than a word, it is a feeling, a sentiment, an idea. It's an idea we hope lives on forever and we thank each and every one of you for persevering through these challenging times and continuing to make Saratoga sustain for generations to come," the company said on its website.
Since the pandemic began, county health departments have informed the public about retail establishments that experienced coronavirus infections, allowing people who may have visited the stores or restaurants to get tested themselves.
However, the president of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, Todd Shimkus, took issue with the store being identified publicly.
"You would not name an individual that had contracted this virus," Shimkus was quoted by CBS 6 Albany as saying. "So I don't think we should have done this to a local business."
Cuomo's senior advisor Rich Azzopardi responded in a statement that "this is a public health crisis and they need to check their egos at the door. The gentleman that contracted this strain did so through no apparent fault of his own, but keeping this from the public would be malpractice and if the elites have a problem with that, they should re-evaluate their priorities as human beings."
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