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First case of COVID-19 variant strain found in Mississippi resident

JACKSON — The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) confirmed the first case of a COVID-19 variant strain in a Mississippi resident on Monday.

A case of the B.1.1.7 UK variant strain of COVID-19 was confirmed during routine testing.

No international travel or spread to contacts is known to have occurred, but additional investigation is ongoing.

The B.1.1.7 variant strain has been identified in 40 U.S. states and is known to spread more easily and quickly than other strains. While suspected, currently there is no direct evidence that this strain causes a more severe infection or a higher risk of death.

MSDH continues to expand surveillance for variant strains in Mississippi, and it is likely that additional cases will be identified. Currently available vaccines are expected to be effective against variant strains, but further research continues.

Mississippians are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, social distance, avoid large gatherings, and wash hands frequently. Vaccination is also encouraged for those who are eligible. Current eligibility includes Mississippi residents or those who work in Mississippi ages 65 and older, or those 16-64 with certain underlying conditions, healthcare personnel, and residents of long term care facilities.

For eligibility criteria, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/covid19. To schedule an appointment at an MSDH drive-through clinic, visit covidvaccine.umc.edu or call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-978-6453.

Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.

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