DPH: First case of COVID-19 variant found in Boston woman

Mass. confirms first case of highly transmissible U.K. coronavirus variant

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the first case of the COVID-19 variant on Sunday afternoon.

The variant, B.1.1.7, is the same that was initially discovered in the United Kingdom.

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The Massachusetts resident who tested positive with the variant developed symptoms earlier this month. A genetic sample was sent to an out-of-state lab as part of the CDC surveillance process to identify variants.

The resident is a woman in her 20s from Boston who traveled to the United Kingdom after testing negative and became sick the day after she returned.

Contact tracers interviewed her and close contacts were identified. She is being re-interviewed by public health officials now that the variant has been identified.

Testing for the B.1.1.7 variant has been ongoing at the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory, according to DPH.

The CDC has reported 88 cases of the variant from 14 states.

The first case of the COVID variant B.1.1.7. has been found in a Boston resident who traveled internationally. This individual, a woman in her 20s, returned to Boston on January 3, 2021 and had a brief (approximately 2 hour) layover at Logan International Airport before traveling to another state. This individual remains in that state and is currently asymptomatic. The Boston Public Health Commission’s Infectious Disease Bureau is working closely with our partners at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on a thorough case investigation. The health and well-being of all Boston residents remains our top priority. We will monitor this situation closely and we continue to closely watch the City’s COVID-19 metrics.
Boston Public Health Commission - Boston EMS
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. However, we know this variant of the virus spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. A higher transmission rate will lead to more cases and could potentially lead to a burden our health care system. That is why it is critical we all stay vigilant and do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. We need everyone to continue to stay home as much as possible, always wear a face mask when outside your home, keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, wash your hands often and continue to get tested.
Boston Public Health Commission - Boston EMS

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