The Maryland Department of Health has recorded the first case of the South African COVID-19 variant, according to a Saturday press release from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.
The variant is believed to be more transmissible than other strains, though the illness caused by the virus is not more severe. Preliminary evidence suggests vaccines will be able to protect against the variant, the release added. Still, other reports suggest that vaccines will be less effective against this particular strain.
The person who contracted the virus has no history of international travel, which makes community transmission likely, according to the release.
Variants of the virus continue to crop up around the world, as some countries begin rolling out the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Cases of the U.K. variant were first detected in Maryland earlier this month.
More than 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the state so far. The state’s positivity rate is 5.79 percent.