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Two cases of highly contagious COVID-19 variant confirmed in Connecticut

RN Valerie Massaro (left) and pharmacist Colleen Teevan look at a computer terminal before administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to people from Hartford HealthCare, at the Hartford Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. on Jan. 4, 2021. Two cases of the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont announced Thursday. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Two cases of the new, highly contagious coronavirus variant have been identified in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont announced Thursday.

Both cases were found in residents of New Haven County, between the ages of 15 and 25, who had recently traveled outside the state — one to Ireland and the other to New York — and developed symptoms within a few days of their return, a statement from Lamont said.

The easily transmissible new variant, known as B.1.1.7, was first discovered in the United Kingdom and has since spread to dozens of countries and several states, including California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania.


No case linked to the variant has been announced in Massachusetts, though virologists believe it is almost certainly here.

According to Lamont, both residents were interviewed by contact tracers soon after their COVID-19 diagnosis, and their close contacts also were identified. One of the residents has completed self-isolation while the other is still self-isolating at home. Genomic sequencing of the individuals’ specimens, conducted by Yale and the State Public Health Laboratory, determined the cases are unrelated.

The state’s Department of Public Health has alerted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the cases, the statement said.

Deanna Pan can be reached at deanna.pan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @DDpan.