A new case of the B.1.1.7 variant that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Douglas County.
“It is the first of that type identified in the county, and among about 30 total in Kansas in recent weeks,” according to a news release from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.
This variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, has about 50% increased transmission and “likely increased severity based on hospitalizations and case fatality rates,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Investigators determined that the Douglas County case was travel-related, according to the release.
“The CDC is closely monitoring these variants of concern (VOC),” the release states. “These variants have mutations in the virus genome that alter the characteristics and cause the virus to act differently in ways that are significant to public health.”
Health officials are encouraging the community to keep social distancing and wearing masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.