According to reports, health officials have detected the first cases of the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus on US soil.

The new COVID strain, which was initially identified in South Africa, was found in two separate cases in South Carolina. Public health officials stated that there is near certainty that more cases of this variant are presently spreading. Officials say the two adults that had the variant strain of the virus are not believed to be connected, and neither person had traveled outside of their home state. The arrival of the South African variant proves “the fight against this deadly virus is far from over,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, South Carolina’s interim public health director. Despite the alarming news, states such as Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, and Indiana are looking to roll back their respective governors’ power to impose emergency lockdowns and mask mandates.