U.K. coronavirus variant found on Central Florida campus

Southeast

A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine at a drive-thru site at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida on February 1, 2021. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A student at the University of Central Florida has been diagnosed with a variant of the coronavirus first found in the United Kingdom and thought to be more easily transmissible.

The unidentified student tested positive this week, Michael Deichen, associate vice president of UCF Student Health Services said Thursday in a statement on the university’s website.

The Orlando-based university is one of the nation’s largest with more than 66,000 students. University officials said the student was isolated and contact tracing measures were taken.

“The tools that we use to fight this variant are no different than the steps we have taken for nearly a year,” Deichen said. “COVID-19 and these new variants are not easily transmissible when face coverings are worn properly, physical distancing is maintained, and hands are regularly sanitized.”

The Florida Department of Health announced the state’s first case of the U.K. variant at the end of last year, and the state now leads the nation in cases of the variant, with almost 350 confirmed diagnoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tens of thousands of college students around the nation have tested positive for the virus, and some campuses have seen spikes in cases with students returning to campus.

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