RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — State officials announced Monday that the first case of a new variant of COVID-19 has been identified in Virginia.

The variant was identified in a sample from an adult resident of northern Virginia who had no reported recent travel history, the Department of Health and Department of General Services said in a news release.

Health experts have warned that the more contagious and possibly more deadly variant sweeping through Britain will probably become the dominant source of infection in the U.S. by March. It has been reported in over 20 states so far. Another mutant version is circulating in South Africa.

We know this variant strain spreads more quickly between people than other strains currently circulating in our communities, but we still have more to learn about whether it causes more severe illness. As our state public health officials closely monitor the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant in our Commonwealth, it is important that all Virginians continue following mitigation measures,” State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said in a statement.

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