RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The first case of the COVID-19 variant called B.1.1.7 has been identified in North Carolina, state health officials confirmed Saturday morning.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the B.1.1.7 variant was identified in a sample from an adult in Mecklenburg County processed by Mako Medical Laboratories.
To protect the privacy of the individual, no further information will be released.
In the United States, 195 cases of B.1.1.7 had been reported in 21 states as of Jan. 22.
Early data suggest that this variant may be more contagious than other variants.
Current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective against the new variant.
“While expected, identification of this COVID-19 variant in North Carolina is concerning, especially at the same time as we are already seeing very high numbers of cases,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD. “It is more important than ever to practice the 3Ws.”
State health officials advise people to stay home except for essential activities and avoid gathering, especially indoors, with people who do not live with you. If you absolutely must travel or be with people you do not live with, get tested in advance, keep it small and outdoors and always wear a mask.