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Maryland residents test positive for UK strain of coronavirus

Maryland residents test positive for UK strain of coronavirus
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Two Maryland residents have tested positive for the United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus, becoming the first confirmed cases in the state, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday.

According to Hogan, one of the individuals had recently returned from traveling abroad, while the other is that person's spouse. Both are in isolation, and health authorities are conducting contact tracing, Hogan said.

They are the first cases in the Washington, D.C., area, but the U.K. variant has been detected in several other states. 

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last month it believes the U.K. variant is widespread in the U.S., but the country does not have the sequencing capability to find it.

Hogan said Tuesday that CDC Director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldClyburn: Documents show Trump officials helped suppress coronavirus CDC reports CDC director walks tightrope on pandemic messaging Biologist Bret Weinstein says COVID-19 likely came from a lab MORE told him something similar during a meeting Monday.

"He said, 'you can assume, we're sure, that the U.K. variant is in every state. It just hasn't been detected in every state,' " Hogan said.

Hogan also noted that he had received the news from health officials ahead of a scheduled news conference on redistricting. He did not know yet when the person traveled, or when the test was conducted. 

According to the governor, a private lab found “strange sequences” in a COVID-19 test, and sent the sample to the state’s public health lab. The state lab confirmed it was the U.K. variant, and so did the CDC, Hogan said.

The CDC has said the mutated strain is more contagious, but there's no evidence it is any greater risk of death or serious illness. There’s also no indication that the new strain interferes with patients’ response to the current coronavirus vaccines.