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Well being officers say they’ve discovered proof in a Florida man of the newest U.S. case of the brand new and apparently extra contagious coronavirus pressure first seen in England

The well being division didn’t give additional particulars, resembling releasing the person’s medical situation or how the pressure was detected.

California on Wednesday introduced the nation’s second confirmed case of the brand new virus pressure. The announcement got here 24 hours after phrase of the primary reported U.S. variant an infection, which emerged in Colorado — in a Colorado Nationwide Guardsman who had been despatched to assist out at a nursing dwelling combating an outbreak.

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Scientists within the U.Okay. consider the variant is extra contagious than beforehand recognized strains. The instances have triggered questions on how the model circulating in England arrived within the U.S. and whether or not it’s too late to cease it now, with prime specialists saying it’s most likely already spreading elsewhere in the USA.

The Florida Well being Division additionally tweeted late Thursday that specialists anticipate little to no impression on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccinations being rolled out in a state grappling with overwhelming demand for the vaccines from its giant senior inhabitants.

Additionally Thursday, state officers reported the best each day bounce in COVID-19 instances ever detected in Florida. The state’s Division of Well being reported 17,192 new instances on the final day of 2020 and 133 new deaths, elevating the toll to 21,857.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has mentioned that folks 65 and older — greater than 4 million of Florida’s 21 million inhabitants — could be prioritized over important staff to obtain the vaccine. However hospitals and well being departments have been struggling to maintain up with the demand.

Folks have clogged hotlines to guide appointments, and a few seniors have camped out in a single day exterior vaccination websites, main some hospitals to hit pause on scheduling additional pictures.

Visitors occasion stretched almost half a mile from the Well being Division’s headquarters close to the St. Johns County municipal complicated in St. Augustine, the place some folks mentioned they waited hours for the shot.

DeSantis has begged for persistence from anxious seniors, saying vaccine provides are nonetheless restricted. However the prime state official overseeing the vaccine distribution additionally acknowledged the programs arrange for vaccine distribution within the state “aren’t assembly the second.”

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Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Administration, mentioned in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel that the state has directed distribution of about 700,000 dosages of the cocktail, however solely a few quarter of these have been used to this point.

“That tells me there are vaccines sitting in freezers … we would like all of our companions to understand it’s their jobs to get the vaccine on the market,” Moskowitz mentioned.

Moskowitz additionally expressed frustration with the federal authorities for sending restricted info on the quantity of doses that will probably be despatched, which has difficult state planning.

In the meantime, COVID-19 hospitalizations are nonetheless rising. The state’s hospital mattress census tallied 6,352 coronavirus sufferers by late Thursday morning, a slight enhance from Wednesday’s determine of 6,331, however a lot bigger than the each day totals in October.

María Elvira Salazar, a Republican who defeated Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala in November, discovered she was contaminated with the virus throughout an emergency journey to the hospital for therapy of coronary heart arrhythmia.

Salazar was handled, launched and will probably be quarantined for at the least 14 days and miss Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony of the 117th Congress in Washington, her workplace introduced Thursday.

In a tweet, Salazar mentioned: “I’m in quarantine at dwelling & getting higher every day. I look ahead to hitting the bottom operating for my group, as soon as it’s medically permissible.”

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Observe AP protection of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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Related Press author Invoice Cormier in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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