By Bria Brown

IONIA, Mich. (AP) — Ninety cases of a COVID-19 variant believed to be more contagious have been found in inmates and staff at a western Michigan prison, and dozens of test results are pending, officials said.

Daily testing began at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, in Ionia, after a prison employee was found to have the B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom, officials said.

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Testing on 95 people found that 90 individuals — 88 of them inmates — had the variant, with the two other cases among prison employees, Michigan State Police announced Tuesday.

Results are pending on more than 100 lab tests conducted on others at the prison.

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Michigan has 67 other cases of the B.1.1.7. virus variant. The state’s 157 cases ranks it third nationally for the most cases of that variant, behind Florida’s 379 cases and California’s 168 cases, The Detroit News reported.

There are 1,173 cases of the variant known in 40 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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