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South African Strain of COVID-19 Detected in Texas

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Texas authorities confirmed on Monday a case of the variant coronavirus detected in South Africa.

“One person had traveled within the United States in December through international airports, then returned to Fort Bend County and developed symptoms several days later,” Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson Minter, HHS Fort Bend County director, told a news conference.

According to Houston Methodist Hospital S. Wesley Long S. Wesley Long of Houston Methodist Hospital, the individual was evaluated and tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection and the results came back positive. The individual has since recovered and authorities learned of the case on Saturday.

“It was this Saturday that we became aware of the fact that we had two isolates that were positive for the UK variant and one isolate that was positive for the South African variant. These isolates were found in three different individuals in different parts of the Houston metropolitan area,” said Dr. S. Wesley Long.

Houston officials have also detected the UK variant in multiple sewage sheds at “very low levels,” but have not yet found evidence of the variant first detected in South Africa.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists 17 cases of the UK variant in Texas, although this is likely an underestimation.

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