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Officials: Coronavirus variant likely more common in Kansas

Coronavirus in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions during a news conference, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. The Democratic governor is facing increasingly vocal criticism from the Republican-controlled Legislature over problems at the state Department of Labor, that include a flood of fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Officials with a major Kansas health system say a faster-spreading coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom is probably more widespread in the state than a single confirmed case in northwest Kansas suggests.

The first identified case of the variant came as the number of new COVID-19 cases dropped and with officials focused on distributing vaccines. The state health department announced Wednesday that it had confirmed the U.K. variant for the first time, in Ellis County.

University of Kansas Health System officials said Thursday that there’s a chance the variant is also in Kansas City and surrounding areas.

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