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2nd COVID variant confirmed in Vermont

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File photo(Frank Augstein | Associated Press/Frank Augstein)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A second COVID variant has now been discovered in Vermont.

Vermont health officials confirmed Thursday afternoon that genomic sequencing detected the so-called “California variant.” The B.1.429 variant was detected in three specimens. The detections were found in samples from Chittenden and Franklin Counties, with one sample’s county of origin pending. This is in addition to the U.K. variant that was confirmed in Burlington wastewater samples earlier this month.

“These variants of the COVID-19 virus can move more easily from person to person,” Vt. Health Commissioner Mark Levine said in a statement. “This is setting us up for a race of sorts between the presence of strains of a highly contagious virus, our rapidly progressing vaccination program, and the need for each of us to continue to focus on prevention and getting tested.”

Officials say that because the variants are more easily transmissible, anyone with COVID symptoms to get tested, those who are eligible should get vaccinated, and everyone should continue efforts to prevent the spread by wearing masks and social distancing.

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