NEW YORK— Several hospitals in New York State are working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to test for the new variant of COVID-19 that was found in the United Kingdom.
The governor and hospitals are hoping to get a handle on the new strain so it doesn’t become widespread in the state.
Testing is considered to be the key to stopping the latest strain of COVID-19 from spreading.
Six hospital systems have already agreed to the testing, including Montefiore, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Northwell Health on Long Island and three others located upstate in Rochester, Albany and Saratoga.
“We want to test for the variant. If it’s here, we want to know it, we want to isolate it immediately. But let’s learn from the spring,” Cuomo said during a Tuesday teleconference.
In an attempt to stop the spread of the new variant, three airlines that travel between New York and the U.K. have agreed to have passengers tested before they get onto a flight heading to the Big Apple.
To further encourage vaccination, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new campaign called “NYC Vaccine For All.”
The idea of the campaign is to let people know the vaccine is for everyone and that it will be free, safe and effective.
The campaign will feature testimonials from New Yorkers, encouraging the vaccine.
One big question about the vaccine: Will it protect against the U.K.’s more contagious strain?
While more studies need to be done, it is believed the vaccine will work because vaccine development is based on the same mRNA technology.
The state expects to receive another 300,000 doses of vaccine next week and expects to vaccinate everyone in more than 600 nursing homes over the next two weeks.