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Florida’s first case of U.K. coronavirus variant found, officials say

There’s “evidence” a man in his 20s in Martin County has the mutant virus, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The state says it has evidence that the first case of an infectious new United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus has been found in Florida, health officials announced Thursday on Twitter.

The person who tested positive is a man in his 20s in Martin County with no history of travel, according to the Florida Department of Health. Officials did not say how they believe the virus was transmitted, or release details about the man’s current medical condition.

The department said it is working with the Centers for Disease and Control to investigate the case. The U.K. variant of the coronavirus is said to be up to 70 percent more transmissible. Cases have also been found in California and Colorado.

The last day of 2020 has been a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: Florida set a new record for coronavirus infections, reporting 17,192 cases on Thursday. The nation also reported a record 3,740 deaths.

The mutant U.K. strain is so named because it was first detected in that nation. Half of the 350,000 known sequences of this new strain of the coronavirus have also come from the U.K.

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The department said it doesn’t anticipate the variant will have an impact on the effectiveness of the vaccines that are now being distributed.

“We encourage all to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation,” the tweet said.