First West Michigan case of COVID-19 variant reported in Kalamazoo County – MLive.com

KALAMAZOO 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 Kalamazoo County resident.

Kalamazoo County Health leaders announced the discovery late Thursday, Feb. 4 and said it was found in a person older than 80.

Until now, state heath officials said the only known Michigan cases were in Washtenaw and Wayne counties. As of Thursday, there were 28 confirmed cases in Southeast Michigan.

Related: 21 COVID-19 variant cases now identified in Washtenaw County

While the B.1.1.7 variant likely spreads more easily, it is not believed to be any more dangerous than the primary strain. Also, vaccines being used against the primary strain of COVID-19 are believed to be effective against the variant strain.

The variant strain so far has been identified in 33 other state and jurisdictions, health officials said.

“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,” Dr. William Nettleton, medical director of the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department, said in a written statement.

Kalamazoo County health officials said they are doing contact tracing to identify close contacts of the infected resident. They will be asked to quarantine for 14 days and be encouraged to get a coronavirus test.

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