MA’s 1st virus variant case; New test to NH governor’s power News Staff

MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts health officials have announced the state’s first case of the more infectious coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom.

A Boston woman who travelled to the United Kingdom felt sick the day after she returned, the state Department of Public Health said Sunday. The health department said it was notified of her test results on Saturday evening.

The woman in her 20s had tested negative for COVID-19 before leaving the U.K., officials said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the variant is about 50% more contagious than the other strain that is currently causing the bulk of cases in this country.

Health officials said by March, the new strain will likely become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the United States. The CDC says there’s no evidence that it causes more severe illness or is transmitted differently so mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing and other prevention strategies can still work.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

More than 300 New Hampshire residents have filed a formal request asking the Legislature to repeal the powers granted to the governor during an emergency such as the coronavirus pandemic.

The remonstrance received by the House clerk on Thursday argues that the law granting the governor emergency management powers is unconstitutional, though it has been upheld in court.

“The experience and feeling of your Memorialists too dearly prove that some ruinous exercise of undelegated powers of issuing emergency orders and public policy guidelines enforced as law has been lately adopted in New Hampshire,” the group wrote. “Such acts could have been devised to bring the good people of this State into the deepest distress.”

Several lawmakers have filed bills limiting the governor’s powers. One would require the governor to explain the conditions necessary to extend a state of emergency and would require approval of the Legislature or Executive Council for renewal. Another would allow the Legislature to terminate any emergency order or part of an order, while a third would require legislative approval of any order issued during the renewal of a state of emergency.

The Associated Press

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