UK variant of COVID-19 found in Wisconsin – WISN Milwaukee

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The Wisconsin public health lab confirmed the first case of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 in the state.Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinThe Wisconsin Department of Health Services and laboratory partners identified a variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 Tuesday in Wisconsin.The particular variant, referred to as B.1.1.7, was first discovered circulating widely in England during November and December. Based on epidemiologic and modeling studies, researchers believe the new strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. There is no evidence the new strain causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. “We already know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted through respiratory droplets, and with this new variant appearing to be even more infectious, taking preventative measures like wearing a mask and physically distancing are even more important,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said.In Wisconsin, the strain was identified through ongoing surveillance and whole-genome sequencing, a routine practice since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials said all viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, change through mutation, and new variants of the virus are expected to occur over time. “Mutations among viruses are very common. It’s not unusual – in fact, it’s expected. As time goes on in the pandemic and the virus continues to replicate on a large scale, the genetic sequence of the virus will change,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said.The DHS said the new variant was discovered through routine analysis of genetic sequence data in Wisconsin.Now in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, molecular surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 will increase in importance to quickly identify and understand new variants, the DHS said.Officials said the emerging mutations of SARS-CoV-2 may be more infectious and it is critically important to follow best public health practices, including wearing a mask, staying home, maintaining physical distance, and washing hands frequently.Health officials believe the COVID-19 vaccine can protect recipients against the new strain of the virus but more studies are needed.The virus variant has been discovered so far in at least 13 states, including Wisconsin.Sign up for coronavirus email alerts from WISNGet breaking news alerts with the WISN 12 app.Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

MADISON, Wis. —

The Wisconsin public health lab confirmed the first case of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 in the state.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and laboratory partners identified a variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 Tuesday in Wisconsin.

The particular variant, referred to as B.1.1.7, was first discovered circulating widely in England during November and December.

Based on epidemiologic and modeling studies, researchers believe the new strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2.

There is no evidence the new strain causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.

“We already know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted through respiratory droplets, and with this new variant appearing to be even more infectious, taking preventative measures like wearing a mask and physically distancing are even more important,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said.

In Wisconsin, the strain was identified through ongoing surveillance and whole-genome sequencing, a routine practice since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said all viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, change through mutation, and new variants of the virus are expected to occur over time.

“Mutations among viruses are very common. It’s not unusual – in fact, it’s expected. As time goes on in the pandemic and the virus continues to replicate on a large scale, the genetic sequence of the virus will change,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said.

The DHS said the new variant was discovered through routine analysis of genetic sequence data in Wisconsin.

Now in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, molecular surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 will increase in importance to quickly identify and understand new variants, the DHS said.

Officials said the emerging mutations of SARS-CoV-2 may be more infectious and it is critically important to follow best public health practices, including wearing a mask, staying home, maintaining physical distance, and washing hands frequently.

Health officials believe the COVID-19 vaccine can protect recipients against the new strain of the virus but more studies are needed.

The virus variant has been discovered so far in at least 13 states, including Wisconsin.

Sign up for coronavirus email alerts from WISN

Get breaking news alerts with the WISN 12 app.

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