State Health Department officials say there is likely “widespread transmission” of the B.1.1.7 UK variant of COVID-19 in Minnesota. This comes after it has been confirmed in 479 cases through the use of genomic sequencing on specimens from March 16th to the 20th. The current situation is now seen as a “race” between the variant spread and the administration of the vaccine. However, the state is making good progress on vaccinations, with at least 25-percent of residents having received at least one dose.   Experts say the spread could cause a “third spike” so it is important to still practice COVID safety protocols.