The so-called “South African” variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in a Connecticut patient for the first time, according to the Department of Public Health.
The B.1.351 variant was found in a Fairfield County resident between the ages of 60-70 who has not traveled recently. The person is currently hospitalized outside the state, DPH said.
Connecticut was notified of the diagnosis by New York health officials.
The B.1.351 variant is more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus. This virus strain was first detected in South Africa in October 2020 and was first detected in the United States in late January 2021 according to a press release.
“Seeing another variant in our state reminds us once again how serious this pandemic is and strengthens the need for us to take all the necessary precautions that have proved successful in the past year. The virus does not recognize state borders, and it certainly does not recognize international borders, which means that it is the responsibility of all of us to do what we can, on a personal basis, to mitigate the spread, ”said Government Ned Lamont.
With the discovery of the new B.1.351 variant as well as 42 limited cases in Connecticut of the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the UK, health officials urged residents to continue to be vigilant when it comes to wearing masks and social removal.
Correction (15 February 2021 16:21) An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information from DPH that the B.1.351 variant caused more serious disease than the original strain of COVID-19. DPH now says CDC guidance shows no evidence that it causes more serious illness.
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