ATLANTA, Ga. (WALB) - On Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced the state’s first case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom and in several other countries and U.S. states.
The variant was discovered during the analysis of a specimen sent by a pharmacy in Georgia to a commercial lab.
DPH said the Georgia resident is an 18-year-old male with no travel history and is currently in isolation at home. DPH said they are working to identify close contacts of the individual and will monitor them closely 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, there is no evidence that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, according to DPH.
“The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey. “Even as we begin to roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine, we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures – wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently.”
DPH, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said they will continue to watch for emerging COVID-19 variants and will provide more information as it becomes available.