First cases of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant identified in Southwest Va.

First cases of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant identified in Southwest Va.
(Source: Deaconess)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health announced Friday that the first cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 have been identified in the Southwest region of Virginia.

The variant was found in three adults with no history of travel prior to their exposure. All three cases were investigated and managed by the health department.

The B.1.1.7 variant first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020. Some reports have found the variant is more severe than others, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding, VDH said in a release.

At this time, the variant has been identified in 44 U.S. states or jurisdictions.

Virginia has now identified 20 total cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and three cases of the B.1.351 variant, which was first identified in South Africa.

“As our public health officials closely monitor the emergence of these SARS-CoV-2 variants in our Commonwealth, it is critical that all Virginians comply now with mitigation measures,” VDH stated in a release. “We are in a race to stop the spread of these new variants. The more people that become infected, the greater that chance the virus will mutate and a variant will arise that could undermine the current vaccination efforts.”

For more information about COVID-19 variants, visit the VDH website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new COVID-19 variants website.

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