The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department confirmed the first case of a COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, in Kalamazoo County, per a press release from the county.
The strain was first reported in the United Kingdom and is believed to be more contagious than the primary strain, but it is not more dangerous.
The individual has been identified as an adult over 80 years old living in Kalamazoo County. They have no travel history and public health is conducting contact tracing to identify close contacts.
The virus has been identified in at least 33 other states and jurisdictions in the U.S and in two other counties in Michigan, Washtenaw County and Wayne County.
This is the only known case in Kalamazoo County at this time, but it is possible that there are more that have not been identified, per the press release.
“The identification of the B.1.1.7 variant in Kalamazoo County underscores the importance of our community wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding social gatherings, washing our hands, getting tested for COVID and getting vaccinated,” said Dr. William Nettleton, Medical Director of Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department.
The current tests and vaccines for COVID-19 also work against this new variant, based on available evidence.
For more information about new variants of COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.