State reports 19 new cases of UK coronavirus variant, bringing total to 29

The Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 19 new cases of the United Kingdom coronavirus variant in Massachusetts, bringing the total number of infections in the state caused by the COVID-19 mutation to 29.

The variant, which is more easily spread than the common strain of COVID-19, caused a rapid surge of cases in the UK and other countries, as well as in California and Florida.

Of the 19 new cases reported Sunday, all but five involved people in Worcester County, according to the state.

The Worcester County cases include seven females: one under the age of 19, one woman in her 20s, three women in their 30s, one in her 40s, and another in her 50s.

Seven Worcester County males were also among the cases, including one under 19, a 16-year-old, a man in his 30s, two men in their 40s, one in his 50s and one in his 60s, according to the department of public health.

Cases in Norfolk County included a woman in her 50s, a man in his 20s, and a man in his 50s, the state reported.

Two from Middlesex County — including a man in his 20s and a male under age 19 — were also reported.

Ten previous cases had been reported in Massachusetts since Jan. 17.

The state said that two other variants of COVID-19 — one identified in Brazil, and the other in South Africa — have not caused any confirmed cases in Massachusetts.

“The best defense against a rapid rise in cases from variants of concern is to prevent the spread of COVID,” the state public health department said.

The agency pointed to US Centers for Disease Control, which recommends improving the fit and filtration of masks to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“Mask fit can be improved by using a mask with a nose wire and by using a mask fitter or by knotting the ear loops and tucking the sides. Mask filtration is improved by using multiple layers,” the state health department said.

People should also practice other public health measures, including social distancing, avoiding groups, and remaining at home while sick. People should get tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms, are identified as a close contact, or are getting vaccinated, the state said.

John Hilliard can be reached at [email protected].

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