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Louisiana congressman’s father among latest virus victims

January 17, 2021 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The father of U.S. Rep. Garrett Graves of Louisiana has died of complications from COVID-19.

Graves’ office announced the Saturday afternoon death of John Graves in a news release. Funeral arrangements were pending.

In a brief statement, Graves, a Baton Rouge area Republican, said his father’s death caught the family by surprise. “He has one of those awesome American Dream stories that inspired our entire family,” the congressman added. “His father died when he was young, he worked multiple jobs to help the family, worked his way through college and eventually owned his own business that trained so many engineers across south Louisiana.”

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Meanwhile, Louisiana has identified the state’s first case of a coronavirus variant believed to be more transmissible than the original.

The governor’s office said Saturday the case was detected in a person in the New Orleans area.

The variant, first detected in Britain, has alarmed officials in many nations because studies indicate it may spread more easily than other viral strains. Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement saying it is urgent “that everyone double down on the mitigation measures that we know are effective in reducing the spread of the virus.”

On Sunday, Louisiana reported 4,122 new cases since Friday. There have been 123 coronavirus-related deaths reported since Thursday. The number of people hospitalized statewide dropped since Friday to 1,930 as of Sunday.