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Maine CDC Discovers Second Case Of U.K. Coronavirus Variant In York County

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
A health care worker deposits a vial containing a swab test into a bag at a mobile testing location for COVID-19, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Auburn, Maine.

Maine has discovered its second case of the more contagious coronavirus variant in a person from York County who recently traveled inside the United States. 

The Maine CDC announced that discovery on Tuesday, about a week after identifying the state's first confirmed case of the B.1.1.7 variant in a person from Franklin County who had recently traveled internationally. That variant was first discovered in the United Kingdom last fall. 

The state has not found any connections between the two Mainers who are confirmed to have the mutation, according to Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah. With the discovery of a second case, he said that it's more important than ever for Mainers to wear face masks, avoid gatherings and take other precautions to prevent spreading the coronavirus.

The U.K. coronavirus variant has now spread widely in the U.S., with more than 1,100 cases reported across at least 40 states. 

The discovery of the two cases of the variant comes as Maine's overall virus numbers are trending in a good direction. Fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 were added to the state's total on Tuesday.

It has been months since the number announced by the Maine Center for Disease Control dipped below 100.

Two more Mainers have died with the disease, bringing the pandemic death toll in the state up to 651.

Maine has now administered approximately 250,000 doses of vaccine, with more than 73,000 people who have had both required shots.

Maine Health says its clinics in Belfast, Boothbay and Norway will be closed on Tuesday due to the wintry weather. Clinics in Westbrook, Scarborough and Brunswick were expected to be open by midafternoon.