1st case of South African COVID-19 variant in northern Virginia identified


(Photo: Courtesy Pixabay)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health says it has identified the first case of the COVID-19 variant from South Africa — SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.351 — in the northern region of Virginia.

The case is an adult who has no travel history during the exposure period, according to the health department.

This comes just two weeks after the first case of the South African variant — B.1.351 — was reported in the state. That case was in eastern Virginia.

As of Thursday evening, the B.1.351 variant from South Africa had 19 other identified cases in Virginia. It’s associated with an increased risk of person-to-person transmission, but not more severe illness.

The B.1.351 variant has been identified in 20 other U.S. states or jurisdictions.

As of Thursday evening, there were 49 identified cases of the UK variant in Virginia, which is associated with a more severe illness.

The Virginia Department of Health said the emergence of new variants in Virginia means residents need to comply with mitigation measures sure as mask-wearing, staying home, physical distancing and more.

The department of health also reminded Virginians that they can download the COVIDWISE app or change their iPhone settings to receive exposure notifications via COVIDWISE Express.

For more information about COVID-19 variants, visit the VDH COVID-19 Testing website and the CDC New COVID-19 Variants website.

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