South Florida Leads State in More-Contagious COVID-19 Variant Cases

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

A more contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus is emerging across the country, and Florida is leading the nation in the number of those mutated cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida and California have 92 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, the CDC says, which was first identified in Britain last September. 

Of Florida’s 92 cases, 60 are in South Florida, according to the state’s department of health.

As of Wednesday, Miami-Dade County reported 23 cases of the variant, while Broward reported 28. A total of nine cases have been detected in Palm Beach County.

The B.1.1.7 variant is about 70% more contagious than what we've already seen, health experts say.

Other variants of COVID-19 have been identified in South Africa and Brazil. On Monday, Minnesota reported the first known case of the COVID-19 variant from Brazil (also known as P.1) in the United States.

On Thursday, two cases of the COVID-19 variant originally from South Africa were detected in South Carolina.

The B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in at least 22 states across the country. There are currently 315 cases of the variant  in the United States, according to the CDC.

The Florida Department of Health said it is sequencing about 200 samples of the COVID-19 virus per week, which is why more cases of the mutated virus are being found.

"By leading in sequencing, the Department is actively looking for the variant in Florida, which is why more cases are being discovered in Florida," the department said in an e-mail.

See the list below for a breakdown of B.1.1.7 variant cases across the state, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

Brevard – 1

Broward – 28

Charlotte – 1

Collier – 1

Escambia – 1

Hendry – 1

Hillsborough – 7

Lee – 2

Martin – 1

Miami-Dade – 23

Osceola – 2

Palm Beach – 9

Pasco – 1

Pinellas – 4

Polk – 1

Seminole – 6

Sumter – 1

Suwannee – 1

Volusia – 1

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