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New COVID-19 Variant From UK Found In Southern California

People wait in line at a coronavirus testing and vaccination site at Lincoln Park on Dec. 30, 2020 in Los Angeles. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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A new and potentially more contagious variant of the coronavirus from the United Kingdom has now been confirmed here in Southern California.

California Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement during a live-streamed conversation Wednesday with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Details are unclear about the case, which had just been reported to Newsom's administration. Dr. Fauci said he wasn't surprised to see the variant appear in California, after it was first detected in Colorado just yesterday.

"I think you're gonna start seeing it, because if you have that much of a prominence of this in the UK with all the travel — not only directly to the United States, but through other countries intermittently," Fauci told Newsom. "I don't think that the Californians should feel that this is something odd, this is something that's expected."

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Earlier this week, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said officials screened a very small sample size of tests for the variant, but did not find it at the time. However, she noted there was a "high probability" that the strain was already here, but it does not appear to be dominant.

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