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First case of UK COVID-19 variant to hit the Commonwealth identified in Northern VA

(AP)
(AP)(AP)
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 2:50 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant has been diagnosed for the first time in the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Department of Health and Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services announced Monday that the strain, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, has been found in an adult resident of Northern VA with no reported recent travel history.

The variant is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus.

The CDC has been informed of the case.

“Viruses change all the time, and we expect to see new strains as disease spreads,” added State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “We know this variant strain spreads more quickly between people than other strains currently circulating in our communities, but we still have more to learn about whether it causes more severe illness. As our state public health officials closely monitor the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant in our Commonwealth, it is important that all Virginians continue following mitigation measures.”

As of January 22, 2021, around 200 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been detected in 23 states. Early studies suggest currently authorized vaccines are effective against the new variant.

Visit the VDH COVID-19 Testing website and the CDC New COVID-19 Variants website for more.

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