Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Georgia confirms case of UK coronavirus variant

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Georgia health officials confirmed the first of the U.K. coronavirus variant in an 18-year-old male with no travel history. In a release sent out Tuesday, officials said the patient is isolating at home and contact tracing was underway.

The discovery was made during an analysis of a specimen sent by a Georgia pharmacy to a commercial lab. It was not yet clear how the patient contracted the variant.

“The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians,” Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the state’s department of health, said in the press release. “Even as we begin rollout of a COVID-19 , we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures – wear a mask, social distance and wash your frequently.”

The variant, identified as B.1.1.7, was first discovered in the U.K. several weeks ago, and the first state to report a case in the U.S. was Colorado. Since then, New York, California and Florida have cases.

The variant is thought to be much more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19 first detected when the outbreak began. The U.K. has entered a third national lockdown citing a surge in new cases believed to be driven by the B.1.1.7 variant.

On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the variant a “game-changer,” and said the country has been trying to play catch-up since the pandemic began. Cuomo said the variant will only make the foot race more difficult and called for quicker vaccination measures.

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