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MARTIN COUNTY, FL — A case of the new coronavirus strain that has recently spread quickly through the United Kingdom has been confirmed in Florida, the Department of Health tweeted Thursday night.
The patient is a male in his 20s with no history of travel, the DOH said. The department is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate.
There have been several new variants of the virus since the start of the pandemic, according to the CDC. This latest variant emerged in the UK in September.
Dr. Ravi Gupta, a virus expert at the University of Cambridge in England, has said this British variant could be up to two times more infectious than the variant that had been commonly spreading through England before this.
The United States’ first confirmed case of this new coronavirus variant was found in Colorado earlier this week, followed by a case in California.
Florida’s first case of this variant comes as the state started vaccinating seniors 65 and older this week. The DOH tweeted that “at this time, experts anticipate little to no impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The DOH reported 16,653 new cases for Wednesday through its COVID-19 dashboard. This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Florida since the pandemic’s start to 1,323,315.
The state’s positivity rate has also seen a significant jump this week. On Tuesday, the positivity rate was 26.29 percent, the highest the state has seen.