LANSING, Mich. — The first known case of the new coronavirus variant has been detected in Michigan, according to Michigan State Police.
We're told the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made the discovery today in Washtenaw County.
Police say the infected individual had recently visited the United Kingdom, which is where the variant is believed to have originated. They also say the individual’s close contacts are currently in quarantine.
The variant, identified as B.1.1.7., is considered to be more contagious, but is not believed to pose symptoms more serious than the normal strain, according to state police.
However, the contagious nature of the variant raises concerns of increased hospitalization and deaths.
“The discovery of this variant in Michigan is concerning, but not unexpected,” says Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “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’re told that the vaccines are expected to be effective against the new variant, which has been detected in 16 other states.