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At least one case of a coronavirus variant that’s linked to several outbreaks in California was identified for the first time in Hawaii, health officials in the Aloha State announced on Monday.
Officials with the Hawaii Department of Health in a news release said that a case of the coronavirus variant L452R was found through genome sequencing, which the health department’s State Laboratories Division has been doing since June in an effort to root out variant cases within communities such as this one.
The L452R variant was first identified in Demark in March 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic, which has now claimed more than 2 million lives globally, began.
Though current evidence does not suggest that the L452R variant "spreads more quickly or poses a greater threat than other COVID-19 strains," said officials, there is still concern "because it has been linked to a growing number of cases in California including several large outbreaks."
SOUTH AFRICAN CORONAVIRUS VARIANT 'UNLIKELY TO COMPLETELY NEGATE' COVID-19 VACCINES: SCIENTIST"It is common to find variants to viruses like COVID-19.
Some present greater risks than others," said Dr. Sarah Kemble, acting state epidemiologist in Hawaii, in a statement.
State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char in a statement said the discovery of the L452R variant in Hawaii "reminds us we must wear masks, maintain physical distance from people outside our immediate households, and avoid crowds."
It was not clear where exactly in the state the variant was found.
The news comes after California health officials on Sunday warned that the L452R variant has been on the rise across the state since November.
Not unlike the U.K. variant, the L452R variant also involves several mutations on the surface spike protein, which the virus uses to infect cells.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGEThe variant has been found in large outbreaks in Santa Clara County, in particular.
"In addition to Santa Clara County, the L452R variant has been detected in Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Mono, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Luis Obispo counties," California health officials said.
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