**FILE** Courtesy of Virginia Department of Health via Twitter

A Northern Virginia resident has the coronavirus variant first found in South Africa, state health department officials said.

Officials of the Virginia Department of Health, in conjunction with the state’s Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, announced Thursday that the discovery was made with a sample from the afflicted resident who had no revealed recent travel history,.

The health department didn’t divulge where specifically the resident lives.

The department said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been working with state public health, academic and commercial laboratories to “increase domestic strain surveillance capacity to sequence thousands of specimens every week.”

“This effort has greatly expanded our ability to detect and characterize emerging viral variants in the United States,” the release said. “With the combined state and national surveillance efforts, it is likely that additional cases with SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern will be identified.”

Despite its presence in Virginia, the variant first detected in South Africa is still vastly outnumbered by its counterpart first discovered in the U.K. with 49 cases.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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