First Case Of UK Variant Of COVID-19 Confirmed In Massachusetts

Health officials also announced on Sunday the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 in MA, the more contagious variant of coronavirus initially discovered in the United Kingdom.

The individual is a Boston resident, a female in her 20's. The variant has also been discovered in NY and CT.

The state's Department of Public Health said a Boston woman in her 20s developed COVID-19 symptoms in early January and tested positive for the virus.

According to a press release, a MA woman in her 20s had traveled to the United Kingdom, which is where the new strain was first detected last month. Close contacts were also identified at that time, per the release, which added the woman will be interviewed again following the public health's determination that the aforementioned COVID-19 variant was the cause of infection.

Discovery of the strain, called COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, was in a genetic sample sent to an out-of-state laboratory part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] surveillance process.

Anyone who has symptoms or is identified as a close contact, should get tested, the department said. She had tested negative prior to leaving the UK.

As of Sunday evening the CDC has reported 88 cases of the variant from 14 states in the U.S.

The national COVID-19 rate per 100,000 Americans is 66.8.

Nationwide, there have been 23.65 million COVID-19 cases and almost 400,000 deaths reported, the CDC said.

On Friday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health removed its flu vaccine mandate for students attending public school in the state.

Right now there are 98,476 people in MA with COVID-19.



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