LANSING, Mich. — Michigan, which has the nation’s highest coronavirus infection rate in the past week, reported the state’s first confirmed case of a variant identified in Brazil.

The variant is considered more contagious than other strains, according to the state health department. It was found in a resident in Bay County, where local health officials were investigating the person’s exposure history.

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State Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel expressed concern about an additional variant. Michigan previously reported finding variants identified in Britain and South Africa.

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Hertel says it’s important to “do what works to slow the spread of the virus” by wearing masks, staying socially distance, avoiding crowds, washing hands and getting a vaccine. Mask mandates remain in effect and vaccines are eligible to everyone starting Monday.

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