KENT COUNTY, MI — A coronavirus case with the variant strain B.1.1.7, which is believed to more contagious than the primary strain, has been found in a Kent County resident.
The variant is approximately 50% more transmissible, leading to faster spread of the virus and potentially increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, the Kent County Health Department said in a Sunday, Feb. 7 news release.
“Fundamentally this is a race for the coverage of our population; a race that pits vaccination efforts against the transmission of infections,” county Health Director Dr. Adam London said. “While we work to minimize the impact of COVID-19 infections, the B.1.1.7 variant is giving the virus increased velocity.”
The health department is encouraging testing of individuals who have traveled out of Michigan in last 14 days, especially to areas in which the new variants are widely circulating.
The first confirmed cases of the variant were confirmed in West Michigan on Thursday in Kalamazoo County.
Data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows the variant is in 33 states. Florida has recorded 187 infections involving B.1.1.7 as of Thursday, followed by much-more-populous California with 145 infections, according to the CDC.
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