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State health officials today announced that they have confirmed the presence of a COVID-19 variant in Iowa.

Three cases involving variant SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7., also known as the U.K. variant, have been discovered in the state, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Two of the cases were in Johnson County, involving an adult age 18 to 40 and an adult age 41 to 60. The other case involved an adult in Bremer County.

State and local public health staff have initiated contact with the individuals to investigate potential exposures and begin monitoring their health, the release states.

Researchers believe that the U.K. variant can be spread more easily than the original strain of COVID-19.

The positive cases were identified by the State Hygienic Lab.