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2 cases of 'more contagious' COVID-19 UK variant found in Leon County

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Posted at 10:19 AM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 10:23:47-05

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Two cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant have been identified in Leon County.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health in Leon County (DOH Leon) announced the detection of two cases associated with the COVID-19 variant that first emerged in the United Kingdom.

DOH-Leon said that they are considering these individuals' priority cases.

Now, epidemiologists are working to identify close contacts of the individuals and said they will continue to monitor the individuals closely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is no conclusive evidence the variant makes people sicker than the original strain, but they are concerned because it spreads more quickly, is significantly more contagious, and vaccines may be less effective against it.

The CDC advises that viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time.

Both Pfizer and Moderna say their current vaccines appear to work against this variant.

“The arrival of the variant in our county is yet another reminder that the fight against this deadly virus is far from over,” says DOH Leon Health Officer Claudia Blackburn. “While more COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, supplies are still very limited. That’s why it’s critical that we all remain dedicated to following public health mitigation strategies by wearing a mask, staying at least six feet apart, avoiding crowds, washing our hands frequently, and following isolation and quarantine recommendations.”

DOH Leon, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health, will continue to watch closely for emerging COVID-19 variants and said they will provide updates as new information becomes available.

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.