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Florida finds more U.K., Brazil and South America COVID-19 variant cases

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The CDC’s updated count of COVID-19 variant cases shows that Florida has verified new instances of three separate strains this week.

That includes two more cases of the U.K. variant detected since Sunday, two more cases of the Brazilian variant and one additional case of the variant initially identified in South Africa.

The latest totals show 1,042 U.K. (B.1.1.7) cases confirmed in Florida, 23 Brazilian (P.1) variant cases and 10 South African (B.1.351).

Infectious disease experts say the totals represent a relatively small percentage of the actual number of variant cases out there, as not all COVID-19 samples are sequenced to detect variants.

Florida remains the state with the most confirmed variant cases. Michigan is the only other state with over 900.

California, Texas and Massachusetts each have over 400 and all other states are below that.

Local 10 News has sent multiple requests to Florida’s health department for an updated breakdown of which counties the variant cases have been located in.

Each time those numbers have been released previously they have shown that South Florida has by far the largest concentration of cases.

Experts fear that spring break visitors gathering in South Florida could add to the spread and then further transport those variants to other communities.

The Orlando Sentinel sued the health department last week for county-by-county information, and it showed that as of March 17, Broward had the most confirmed variant cases (307), followed by Miami-Dade (129) and Palm Beach County (75).

Monroe County didn’t have any verified variants at that time.

Those numbers were before the CDC confirmed that Florida had passed 1,000 total variant cases over the weekend, around the same time the state passed 2 million total COVID-19 cases.

To see the CDC’s latest variant data, click here.

About the Author:

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.