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New COVID variant on the rise in Finger Lakes

Central New York is experiencing the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, known as JN. 1, which is currently the second most prevalent strain in New York State.

This variant, already circulating internationally, is now gaining traction in the U.S. Dr. James Alexander, Medical Director for the Onondaga County Health Department, noted a significant increase in U.S. cases.


The rise in infections follows the Thanksgiving holiday and coincides with colder weather, leading to more indoor gatherings and activities, which traditionally contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

Local health officials say they have observed a sharp increase in COVID-19 indicators in wastewater, although this has not yet translated into a substantial rise in hospitalizations.

New York State COVID data confirms the growing presence of the JN. 1 variant, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked to one in five new COVID cases in the region.

The CDC has categorized JN. 1 as a more transmissible variant, a common characteristic observed in emerging strains.