Annapolis, MD- At a press conference today to discuss reform with redistricting following the 2020 National Census, Governor Larry Hogan announced that two people in Anne Arundel County have tested positive for the mutated UK Variant COVID-19.
One person had recently traveled outside of the country, and the second person testing positive was confirmed to be their spouse. Both are currently in isolation and the Maryland Health Department is conducting contact tracing to determine who they have come in contact with.
“Our state health officials are closely monitoring the emergence of the B-117 strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the state,” said Governor Hogan. “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.”
Multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating globally. In the United Kingdom (UK), a new variant has emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. This variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. This variant was first detected in September 2020 and is now highly prevalent in London and southeast England. It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada.
In South Africa, another variant has emerged independently of the variant detected in the UK. This variant, originally detected in early October, shares some mutations with the variant detected in the UK. There have been cases caused by this variant outside of South Africa. This variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.
This is the first time the highly contagious strain has been identified in Maryland. So far ten other states have found at least one positive test of the UK Variant in their state. California, New York, Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Texas, Georgia, and Florida join Maryland. Both of the cases involving the B-117 strain were identified in viral samples tested at an independent lab licensed in Maryland. The results of the analysis were reviewed by the state’s public health lab and discussed with officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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
This information was relayed to the Governor just before the press conference and he states they will release more information as soon as it becomes available.
Updated at 4 p.m. January 12, 2021 with more information from the Office of the Governor.