At Least 6 States Confirm Cases of More Infectious COVID-19 Variant From UK (UPDATE)
The variant, discovered in the UK and believed to be more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain, has been recorded in at least six states in the U.S.
Image via Getty/Jane Barlow - WPA Pool
UPDATED 1/7, 1:25 p.m. ET: Cases of the COVID-19 variant strain initially seen in the UK have now popped up in Pennsylvania—in Dauphin County, where state capital Harrisburg lies—and Texas. The new strain have been confirmed in at least six states, per ABC News: Georgia, New York, Colorado, California, Florida, and the aforementioned Pennsylvania and Texas.
“This individual tested positive after known international exposure,” Pennsylvania officials said. “A case investigation and contact tracing were performed to identify, inform and monitor anyone who was in close contact with this individual. The individual had mild symptoms, which have since been resolved while they completed their isolation at home.” In discussing the state’s preparedness, the officials noted, “Public health experts are in the early stages of working to better understand this new variant, how it spreads and how it affects people who are infected with it.”
The Texas case of the new strain was recorded in Harris County, which includes Houston. “The man has had no history of travel and is stable in isolation, Harris County officials said,” per ABC. “Epidemiologists are working to identify and quarantine his close contacts.”
UPDATED 1/5, 3:40 p.m. ET: Georgia Dept. of Health says first case of COVID-19 variant has been detected in the state.
UPDATED 1/4, 4 p.m. ET: Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed New York's first case of the UK variant in Saratoga County.
UPDATED 1/1/21, 11 a.m. ET: The variant has now been confirmed in the state of Florida.
In a statement shared on New Year's Eve, the state's Health Department said they had "evidence of the first identified case" of the variant in Martin County.
"The individual is a male in his 20s with no history of travel," a department rep said. "The department is working with the CDC on this investigation."
UPDATED 12/30/20, 5:17 p.m. ET: The COVID-19 variant from the UK has now been detected in California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom confirmed the news during a press conference Wednesday, just a day after Colorado officials reported the country's first known known case of the strain that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
"An hour or so ago we were informed that this new variant, this new strain that we’ve identified from the United Kingdom…. and in Colorado yesterday has been identified here in the state of California, in Southern California," Newsom said during the joint presser with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The governor did not provide any details about the infected patient, such as their sex, age, and residency.
Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reiterated that the mutated virus does appear to be more transmissible, but stressed it doesn't appear to be more deadly.
"I don’t think that Californians should feel that this is something odd," he said. "This is something that’s expected."
See the original story below.
Colorado officials have reported the country's first known case of B.1.1.7—a COVID-19 variant that is believed to be more infectious than the original strain.
According to the Washington Post, the strain was identified in a man in his 20s. The variant was first discovered in the U.K this month, as the country experienced a surge in infections.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis confirmed the case via Twitter on Tuesday, stating the individual was in isolation in Elbert County, as officials attempt to identify other potential cases through contact tracing. The man reportedly has no travel history.
"There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious," Polis wrote. "The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels."
1. Verify that each passenger has attested to having received a negative Qualifying Test result. Airlines must retain a copy of each passenger attestation for two years.
Colorado health officials say they believe the newly released Pfizer vaccine is believed to be effective against the new variant; however, the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control is urging the public to take precaution when traveling to the UK. The CDC recently issued an order requiring negative COVID-19 tests from all travelers from the UK into the US.
Per the order:
As of Tuesday, the COVID-19 variant had been detected in 18 countries. Although B.1.1.7 is said to be more transmissible than the previously identified strains, UK researchers found the variant doesn't appear to cause more severe illnesses, nor does it seem more deadly.