GEORGIA (WTOC) - The Georgia Department of Public Health announced Georgia’s first case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7.
It is the same variant discovered in the U.K. and in several other countries and U.S. states.
The discovery was made during analysis of a specimen sent by a pharmacy in Georgia to a commercial lab. The patient is an 18-year-old male who is a resident of Georgia. He has no travel history, and is currently in isolation at home.
DPH is working to identify anyone who had close contact with the individual and will monitor them and test them for the variant.
Preliminary epidemiologic information suggests that this variant is significantly more contagious than the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So far, DPH says there is no evidence that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.
“The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians,” said DPH Commissioner Katheen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H. “Even as we begin roll out of a COVID19 vaccine, we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures – wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently.”