Connecticut has reported two confirmed cases of the U.K. coronavirus variant in two New Haven residents who traveled outside of the state.
Both patients– one of whom visited Ireland–are aged between 15 and 25, and developed symptoms within three to four days of returning to Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Twitter Thursday.
“Genetic sequencing of the virus has confirmed that the two cases are unrelated,” Lamont tweeted.
Lamont said the cases were discovered as part of a state health department enhanced surveillance testing strategy being run in collaboration with Yale University and The Jackson Laboratory. These specific samples were analyzed by Yale, according to Lamont, who added that the state has notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Both residents were interviewed by contact tracers after their diagnosis, and are being re-interviewed by public health officials in light of the findings.
Lamont said that one of the individuals has completed their isolation period while the other continues to self-isolate at home and will continue to do so until 10 days after the onset of symptoms and they are symptom-free.
“As we said last week, given the speed of this new strand of the virus and its identification in several states throughout the country, we presumed it was already in our state and this info this morning confirms that fact,” the governor tweeted. “This is another reason why everyone should continue taking precautions to prevent transmission of this disease, including wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and avoiding gatherings with people outside your household.”
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The news comes on the same day officials in Pennsylvania and Texas announced their first confirmed cases, and a Vermont official warned that it had likely already reached the state. The CDC had earlier reported more than 50 cases of the variant in the U.K., with the most reported in California, followed by Florida. New York, Georgia and Colorado also have confirmed cases.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the variant a “game-changer” and said that it would likely quicken the pace of the “foot race” that the country has been in since the start of the pandemic.
Nationwide there has been a slow start to the vaccine rollout that many had hoped would stifle the spread of the virus, although it’s not clear what impact the shots may have on transmission.