South Carolina health officials detect first-known U.S. Covid cases of more problematic variant from South Africa

Scott Fujii, 34, is given a 24-hour rapid coronavirus test by nurse Caren Williams at Tom Bradley international terminal at LAX airport so he can travel to Hawaii to see family, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Angeles, California, November 23, 2020.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

The first Covid-19 cases in the U.S. of a new, highly contagious strain of the virus first found in South Africa have been detected in South Carolina, the state’s health department said on Thursday.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said the strain, known as B.1.351, was found in two people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified South Carolina health officials that a sample that was tested at LabCorp was found to be the B.1.351 variant, the health department said Thursday. The state’s own public health lab simultaneously “identified a separate case of the same variant,” the South Carolina Department of Health said in a statement.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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