ST. PAUL, Minn. (NewsNation Now) — Public health officials in Minnesota on Monday announced the discovery of the first known U.S. case of a coronavirus variant from Brazil.
The variant, known as Brazil P.1 variant, was found in a patient who had recently returned to Minnesota after traveling in Brazil.
The variant is thought to be more transmissible than the initial strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is not yet known whether the variant causes more severe illness, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The patient with the strain is a resident of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
“The person became ill during the first week of January and the specimen was collected Jan. 9. The patient spoke with MDH case investigators after the initial test came back positive for COVID-19, and reported traveling to Brazil prior to becoming ill,” according to the MDH. “The person was advised during that interview to isolate from others and have any household contacts observe quarantine, as per standard protocol.”
So far, eight cases of the United Kingdom variant have been identified in Minnesota, but more are expected to exist, according to officials.