Pennsylvania’s 1st case of COVID-19 variant confirmed

Northeast

HARRISBURG, Pa. (NewsNationNow) — Pennsylvania’s first case of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7, was confirmed by the state’s health secretary Thursday.

The Dauphin County resident tested positive after known international exposure, NewsNation affiliate WTAJ reported.

The new variant first emerged in Britain, sweeping across that country and prompting a national lockdown, and has since been detected in several U.S. states.

A case investigation and contact tracing were performed to identify, inform and monitor anyone who was in close contact with this individual. The individual had mild symptoms, which have since been resolved while they completed their isolation at home.

“Pennsylvania has been preparing for this variant by working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been sending 10-35 random samples biweekly to the CDC since November to study sequencing and detect any potential cases for this new COVID-19 variant,” Dr. Levine said. “Public health experts are in the early stages of working to better understand this new variant, how it spreads and how it affects people who are infected with it.”

The COVID-19 virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, mutates regularly as virus mutation is common. According to the CDC, this new variant was recognized in the United Kingdom in mid-December 2020. As public health experts continue to study the variant, they expect that all currently available diagnostic tests will detect the variant as COVID-19 and that the COVID-19 vaccines with federal emergency use authorizations will remain effective as well.

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