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Georgia health officials confirmed Tuesday the first case of an even more contagious COVID-19 variant, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Public Health. The variant was first discovered in the U.K.
According to the department’s statement, this discovery in Georgia was made during an analysis of a specimen sent by a pharmacy to a commercial laboratory.
“The Georgia resident is an 18-year-old male with no travel history, and is currently in isolation at home,” the announcement reads. “DPH is working to identify close contacts of the individual and will monitor them closely and test them for the variant.”
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Officials explained the “preliminary epidemiologic information” suggests that the variant is “significantly more contagious” than the COVID-19 virus. However, no evidence shows that the B.1.1.7 variant increases risk of death or causes more severe illness.
“The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians,” DPH Commissioner Katheen E. Toomey stated in the release. “Even as we begin (to) roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine, we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures — wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently.”