UPDATE: Maryland Confirms Two Cases of New COVID-19 U.K. Variant in Anne Arundel

Update (5:15 p.m.): The Office of Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement about the two cases of COVID-19 in Anne Arundel caused by the new coronavirus variant originally found in the United Kingdom, known as B-117.

According to the statement, the strain has not been shown to be more contagious or increase the risk of deaths compared to other strains. But health officials say the B-117 variant is more transmissible than other strains. Moreover, the statement says, ” there is no evidence suggesting that the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are less effective on the B-117 strain.”

“Our state health officials are closely monitoring the emergence of the B-117 strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the state,” said Hogan said in a statement. “We encourage Marylanders to practice caution to limit the additional risk of transmission associated with this strain. It is critically important that we all continue to follow standard public health and safety measures, including mask wearing, regular hand washing, and social distancing.”

Maryland Department of Health has begun its contact tracing efforts for the two cases of the new COVID-19 variant cases, but they haven’t found evidence of additional transmission for the strain, according to the governor’s office. The two Anne Arundel residents who contracted the U.K. variant have traveled internationally before they were infected and they are under the age of 65. Neither of the patients has been hospitalized, the statement says.

The two cases “involving the B-117 strain were identified in viral samples tested at an independent lab licensed in Maryland,” the governor’s office says. The state’s public health lab reviewed the results of the analysis with the CDC.

“Since the strain was initially identified, the lab has been monitoring for the possible emergence in Maryland by sequencing viral samples collected in the state,” the governor’s office says.

As of Tuesday, the CDC reports 72 COVID-19 vases caused by the new variant in nine other states: California, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

Original Post (1:18 p.m.): Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed at a press briefing Tuesday that Maryland has two cases of the new coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Hogan made the announcement at his redistricting reform press briefing. He said he just received the news before starting the briefing and that the cases are from residents who reside in Anne Arundel County.

“We may have found it faster than other people, but I think it’s pretty much everywhere across the country and it’s much more contagious and that’s one of the things we’re  really concerned about with the already rising cases.”

Hogan said the Anne Arundel residents have two children who haven’t been tested but are quarantining with the parents.

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Deirdre Byrne

About Deirdre Byrne

Deirdre Byrne is a social media coordinator for Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at dbyrne@mymcmedia.org or on twitter at @DeirdreByrneMCM.

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