ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The UK variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday.
There are now two cases of the new, more contagious strain in Maryland- a married couple from Anne Arundel County.
"Just a couple of minutes ago, I got the news that the state public health laboratory has confirmed the first two cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 in the state of Maryland."
One of them had recently traveled to the United Kingdom, while the other had not. The governor said he cannot say where the person traveled specifically, but that they had traveled to multiple countries before coming back to the U.S.
A private lab performed the initial test and a state lab confirmed the results, Gov. Hogan said. They are conducting contact-tracing to quickly determine who the couple may have interacted with since the arrival back into Maryland.
The couple has two children who are quarantining with them.
The B-117 strain was first found in the U.K. in late 2020, and has not been shown to cause more severe illness or death when compared to other strains. It is, however, more transmissible than other strains.
The governor's office assured people that there is no evidence suggesting the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are less effective on this strain.
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health said they are working with the state to contact trace.
"We are working closely with the Maryland Department of Health on contact tracing and testing for these two individuals and their contacts," said Anne Arundel County Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D. "It continues to be important that county residents keep up the key public health safety measures of wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands and avoiding crowds."
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As a more contagious strain of the virus is now in the state, Gov. Hogan stressed with the Ravens playoff matchup against the Bills coming that now was not the time to ease off restrictions.
"I'm going to be celebrating the game watching it on TV at home, but I don't think we should be opening bars," he said.
This story was originally published on Jan. 12, 2021.
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