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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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First case of new COVID-19 variant B.1.351 identified in Michigan child

Virus Outbreak Variant
Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 22:57:06-05

JACKSON, Mich. (WXYZ) — A new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been identified for the first time in Michigan. The B.1.351 variant has been found in a child living in Jackson County, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Monday evening.

Related:

Here's the difference between the U.K. & South African coronavirus variants reported in Michigan

Source: Associated Press

There is currently an investigation into close contacts with the male child and whether there are any additional cases associated.

The B.1.351 variant was first detected in South Africa in early October 2020. Officials say it shares some mutations with the B.1.1.7 variant. However, the B.1.351 variant is believed to be more contagious.

“We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan, although it was not unexpected,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We continue to urge Michiganders to follow a research-based approach by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often, and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

Health officials say the available COVID vaccines work against the new variant.

Here are some protective actions to practice:

  • Get vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask around others.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Ventilate indoor spaces.

Below is a map of where the B.1.1.7 variant (blue) and B.1.351 variant (red) have been confirmed in the state. The yellow marker is the reported number of cases from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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