First state case of COVID-19 variant reported in Franklin County

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AUGUSTA – A resident of Franklin County with no recent travel history has tested positive for the P1 variant of COVID-19, the Maine Center for Disease Control indicted Friday afternoon.

The P1 variant, which is believed to have originated in Brazil, is notable due to concerns relating to increased contagiousness and the variant’s potential resistance to antibodies. Maine CDC indicated that genome sequencing of test results also had identified 15 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and four cases of the B.1.351 variant. Sequencing was completed on 5.31 percent of the positive tests reported by Maine labs, slightly more than the state’s goal.

Another Franklin County resident was linked to the first case of the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, back in early February. That patient traveled outside the country, however, unlike the resident with the confirmed case of the P1 variant.

In general, Maine has seen few cases of COVID-19 compared to the country at-large. However, cases are presently increasing, with 253 new cases reported Friday. In total, 731 Mainers have died from COVID-19.

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