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New COVID variant confirmed on UT campus

The new, more-contagious variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed on The University of Texas campus, states a letter by the university sent out to the community on Friday.

"Today, we are writing to let you know that the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7 and first discovered in the United Kingdom has been detected through our proactive on-campus testing, monitoring and sequencing efforts," the letter reads.

The first case of the variant, which originated in the United Kingdom and is known as B.1.1.7, was confirmed by Austin Public Health in Travis County earlier this week.

UT confirmed that the individuals are aware they tested positive for the variant and are self-isolating. Public health workers have already completed contact tracing and advised them to get tested and quarantine.

"Mutations can also give a new variant an advantage, such as helping it spread more easily, allowing it to become the dominant strain in a community," according to the letter. "The university is continually monitoring for variants in its testing operations."

While the vaccines currently being distributed are expected to be effective against the variant, UT will open an additional clinic this weekend from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. to increase COVID-19 testing in the Jester West Fireplace Lounge. You can schedule an appointment here.


Gov. Greg Abbott’s lead over Beto O’Rourke narrows to 6 points, poll finds

(The Texas Tribune)

By Cecilia Lenzen

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke narrowed to 6 points last month, according to a poll conducted by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. That’s a smaller gap than when Republican George W. Bush ousted Democrat Ann Richards in 1994 with a 7.6-point win.

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Are development fees holding Austin back from ending the housing crisis?


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