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Maine CDC: COVID variant first found in Brazil has been identified in Maine

Maine CDC says 15 cases of the variant first identified in the United Kingdom and four cases of the variant first identified in South Africa were also found in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine — Editor's Note: The video above aired Jan. 21, 2021.

Robert Long, communications director for the Maine CDC, said in an email Friday that the Maine CDC has identified one case of the P1 COVID-19 variant in Maine. The variant was first identified in Brazil.

The discovery was a result of the latest round of genome sequencing on positive COVID-19 molecular tests for Maine residents.

The test was from a Franklin County resident with no recent travel history, according to Long.

Additionally, Long said the Maine CDC has identified, in total, 15 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (first identified in the United Kingdom) and four cases of the B.1.351 variant (first identified in South Africa).

Previously, a case of the B.1.351 variant was discovered in Maine in early March and two separate cases of the B.1.1.7 variant were discovered in Maine in February.

Genome sequencing was completed on 5.31 percent of positive test results reported by Maine laboratories during the latest analysis period, surpassing Maine’s goal of 5 percent, Long said.

The U.S. CDC says this variant has 17 unique mutations, including three in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein, and that it was first detected in the US at the end of January 2021. 

As of Friday, March 26, over 18 percent of Maine's population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Maine CDC reported 253 additional COVID-19 cases in the state Friday.

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