Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday the state now has two cases of the U.K. variant of the coronavirus.
The governor said before the start of a press conference on redistricting that the state public health lab confirmed the UK strain from two Anne Arundel County residents. One person traveled to “multiple continents” and became sick when returning home, he said.
The couple remains in isolation and has two children remaining at home with them.
Hogan said the state will conduct contact tracing as a way to assess who they came in contact with.
He said a private lab handled the test and sent it to the state’s public health lab, which then sent the results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also confirmed it was the UK strain.
Hogan said he didn’t know when the couple traveled, tests got conducted and when the lab ascertained the results.
“It’s very limited [information] at this point,” Hogan said.
Health officials have said the UK variant is much more contagious than the coronavirus that has ravaged the world over the past year, though it isn’t suspected to be more virulent.
Anne Arundel borders Prince George’s County, which continues to record the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state.
As of Tuesday, the state’s confirmed coronavirus cases are now at 312,351, an increase of 2,665 over the previous 24-hour period. The health department reported 67 people died from COVID-19 from the day before, the highest 24-hour total since May. The total number of deaths stand at 6,196.
Although only 12 patients were hospitalized in 24 hours, the statewide total increased to 1,952, the highest figure since the state began to track the virus in March.
Nine more people required intensive care from Monday, raising the total number of ICU patients to 456.
In terms of people vaccinated, approximately 152,192 people have received the first round of the two-shot vaccines. Nearly 10,000 people have received a second dose.
The state is currently in phase 1A of its vaccination efforts, which prioritizes health care workers, front-line workers and residents and staff in nursing homes.