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Health Officials Probe Whether New, More Contagious COVID-19 Strain Circulating In LA County

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that there have been no reported cases in California of a mutated strain of COVID-19 that was first reported in the United Kingdom, but Los Angeles County has started testing for it.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health sent out a memo asking laboratories to review data from positive coronavirus tests and report any unusual findings back to the department.

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The mutated strain is a concern, because scientists said it could make the virus up to 70% more transmissible — meaning it would more easily pass from person to person.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, public health director, said a lab is doing gene sequencing to test virus samples for the new strain — a process that should take about one week, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

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