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More-infectious UK coronavirus variant found in UCF student

The university said it was time to double-down on COVID precautions.

ORLANDO, Fla. — A University of Central Florida student has been infected with the UK variant of COVID-19, which is considered more easily-spread and has recently taken hold in Florida.

UCF announced it is undertaking its standard contract tracing and containment efforts in response to the situation. And, health officials on campus say it's time to "double-down" on COVID-19 precautions.

"This is a reminder that we must work even harder to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as the roll out of vaccines continues in our community. While vaccines are proven effective against COVID-19 and the emerging variants, we also know that habitual mask-wearing, physical distancing and hand sanitizing also prevent the spread of the pandemic," UCF wrote in an update on its website.

The university urged everyone on campus to "remain diligent" to protect themselves and others.

Based on contact tracing efforts, UCF says small group gatherings remain the source of the positive COVID cases it has been seeing. University leaders are asking people to limit their interactions with others and stay home if they feel sick.

"This is not a time to panic, but rather to remember how important it is to prioritize health and safety by adopting the practices that are proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and these emerging variants," Dr. Michael Deichen wrote in the UCF update.

You can read his full statement by clicking here.

The Orlando-based university is one of the nation’s largest with more than 66,000 students.

The Florida Department of Health announced the state’s first case of the U.K. variant at the end of last year. Florida now leads the nation in cases of the variant.

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