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News

2 Cases Of New Highly Contagious COVID-19 Variant Detected In North Jersey, Jersey Shore

A New Jersey National Guardsman performs a COVID-19 test.
A New Jersey National Guardsman performs a COVID-19 test. Photo Credit: New Jersey National Guard

Two cases of the highly-contagious COVID-19 variant initially found in the U.K. have been detected in New Jersey, state officials announced.

The first case involves an Ocean County man in his 60s with no travel history or clear exposure to those who were ill, Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said during Friday's COVID-19 briefing.

The man presented symptoms compatible with COVID-19 on Dec. 29, 2020 and was tested with a PCR test on Jan. 6 at a commercial lab, Persichilli said. 

The results were suggestive of the variant and were sent to another lab for sequencing, where the UK variant was confirmed, she said. 

The man's symptoms have since resolved and he was never hospitalized. His case remains under investigation.

A variant case was also detected in a young traveler staying in North Jersey. The child was tested Jan. 11 in New York City and was asymptomatic. The local health department is further investigating, Persichilli said.

Persichilli did not say where in North Jersey the child was staying.

"As you know viruses constantly change through mutation and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time," she said.

"While the variant may spread more easily and more quickly than previous strains at this time there is no evidence that infections by this variant cause more severe disease, according to the CDC.

"The current vaccines are effective against the variant."

This is a developing story. Check back for more.

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