The first variant strain B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2 has been identified in Trempealeau County by genome sequencing, the county health department reported.
A thorough investigation was completed, the health department said, but it is unclear where the person contracted this variant strain.
The variant B.1.1.7 was first discovered in England in November and December 2020 and is often referred to as the UK strain. The first case of this variant strain was detected in Wisconsin on January 12. Researchers believe this strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2.
Virus mutations are expected to occur over time. With new emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2, the health department said it is extremely important to continue public health practices that help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask when in public
- Maintain 6-foot distance from people outside of your household at all times
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid gatherings when you cannot maintain 6-feet distance between yourself and others
- Clean high-touch surfaces frequently
Early studies show the current vaccines effectively reduce the risk of COVID-19 for all existing variants.
“As we continue to work through COVID-19 vaccinations, it is important to follow all public health practices as well as stay home and get tested if you have symptoms,” the health department said.