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Third confirmed coronavirus variant is reported in Texas

Frontline healthcare workers check information at a COVID-19 testing site amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in El Paso on November 13, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. Texas eclipsed one million COVID-19 cases November 11th with El Paso holding the most cases statewide. Health officials in El Paso today announced 16 additional COVID-19 related deaths along with 1,488 new cases pushing the virus death toll to 741. Active cases in El Paso are now over 30,000. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

DALLAS – A third confirmed case of a variant of the coronavirus was been reported Saturday in Texas by Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The agency reported that a Dallas man in his 20s with no history of travel outside the United States tested positive for the variant first identified in the United Kingdom and known as B.1.1.7.

Texas is among a handful of states with at least one known case of the new variant, but state health officials say there is no evidence it causes more severe disease and that current vaccines are expected to still be effective.

“The emergence of strain B.1.1.7, while inevitable given the mobility of the modern world and the fact that we are a major transportation hub, means that there is a strain that is 70% more contagious in our community and it will grow quickly," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

Texas reported a Houston-area man as its first case of a person infected with the new variant on Jan. 7.

The state health department on Saturday reported more than 240,000 new cases and 381 additional death and has reported more than 2 million cases and more than 31,00 deaths since the pandemic began.