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Minnesota confirms first known U.S. case of more contagious Covid variant originally found in Brazil

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The Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday that it had confirmed the first known U.S. case of a contagious variant of coronavirus originally found in Brazil.

The variant was found according to a press release via the Ministry of Health’s variant monitoring program. The department collects 50 random samples each week for genome sequencing.

The patient with the Brazil variant is a resident of the Twin Cities metropolitan area who recently traveled to Brazil, according to state health officials. The person fell ill the first week of January and the sample was collected on January 9, the state said.

“We are grateful that our testing program helped us find this case, and we thank all Minnesotans who seek tests when they feel sick or otherwise have reason to have a test,” said Jan Malcolm, Minnesota health commissioner , in a statement. “We know that like all viruses, the virus will continue to evolve even as we work hard to defeat COVID-19.”

Previously, President Joe Biden had expanded travel restrictions to Europe, the UK and Brazil to curb the spread of Covid-19, especially as new strains of the coronavirus are identified.

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Robert Dunfee