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More infectious British COVID-19 variant identified in Eaton County

COVID-19
Posted at 12:58 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 20:22:35-05

An individual with the more infectious British variant of COVID-19 was identified in Eaton County late on Sunday.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department says details about the individual are still unknown and that the investigation into this case is still ongoing according to a Monday morning press release.

"We don't have any information to share about the individual or their travel history at this point," health department Planning, Promotion, and Evaluation Director Anne Barna said.

The B117 variant that originated in the United Kingdom was first found in Michigan in Washtenaw County back in January. Several other cases have been identified across the state since.

"We know that we've seen this in other counties in Michigan, so we figured it was only a matter of time until we had a case here," Barna said.

Health officials nationwide are urging the public to stay vigilant about the virus. Director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky warns that easing up on prevention methods could bring back a new surge.

"I'm asking everyone to please keep your guard up. The proliferation of variants remains of great concern and is a threat that could reverse recent positive trends we are seeing," Walensky said.

Early findings show this variant may be associated with an increased risk of death and could be more easily transmissible according to the CDC. Otherwise, the variants are being treated the same as the initial coronavirus strain.

"At this point, the quarantine and isolation recommendations stay the same. So, the isolation period is 10 days and the quarantine period is 14 days although it can be shortened to 10 days in some cases," Barna said.

The county health department is urging continued precautions against COVID-19. Those precautions include:

  • getting vaccinated for COVID-19 if eligible
  • wearing a mask around others
  • social distancing
  • washing hands often
  • ventilating indoor spaces

Mass vaccination sites could be the number one line of defense against new variants according to the Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"Get as many people vaccinated as fast as we can. That's the best defense against the evolution of variants," Fauci said.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Departmen is vaccinating people as fast as they can get doses into their fridge, but like many health care providers across the country, vaccine supply isn't arriving fast enough to meet demand, officials say.

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