First case of COVID-19 variant confirmed in Massachusetts, DPH says


First case of COVID-19 variant confirmed in Massachusetts, DPH says

Massachusetts now has its first confirmed case of the COVID-19 variant, according to state health officials.The state’s Department of Public Health announced Sunday that the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 has been detected in the Bay State.This case involves the same variant that was initially discovered in the United Kingdom, state health officials say.”Given the increased transmissibility of this variant and the number of states and other countries that have found infected cases, the department expected the variant to arrive in Massachusetts eventually,” reads a statement from the Massachusetts DPH. “The public health risk reduction measures remain the same. Individuals must continue to wear masks or face coverings while out in public, maintain 6-foot social distancing, stay home when you are sick and get tested if you have symptoms or are identified as a close contact.”The person who tested positive is a Boston woman in her 20s, according to the DPH and the Boston Public Health Commission. The DPH says the woman became ill the day after she returned to the United States. She had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to leaving the United Kingdom, but tested positive for COVID-19 after her return.According to the DPH, a genetic sample was sent to an out-of-state laboratory as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s established surveillance process to identify COVID-19 variants. The State Public Health Laboratory was notified Saturday evening of the positive variant results.In a statement, the BPHC says the woman returned to Boston on Jan. 3 and had an approximately 2-hour layover at Logan International Airport before traveling to another state. She remains outside of Massachusetts 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,” reads the BPHC’s statement. “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.”The DPH says the woman was interviewed by contact tracers at the time the initial positive result was received, and close contacts were identified. She is being re-interviewed by public health officials now that the variant has been identified as the cause of illness. Surveillance testing for the B.1.1.7 variant has been ongoing at the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in collaboration with clinical diagnostic laboratories and academic partners, according to the DPH. Surveillance consists of genomic sequencing on portions of COVID-19 positive specimens.To date, the CDC has reported 88 cases from 14 states in the United States.According to the CDC, there is no evidence that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, but it is known to spread more easily and quickly than other COVID-19 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,” reads the BPHC statement.PHNjcmlwdCBpZD0iaW5mb2dyYW1fMF85MTUyMTg3My03NmRhLTQ0ZmUtOTA0Ny1mMTllZWFlZGFjNmQiIHRpdGxlPSJDb3JvbmF2aXJ1cyBpbiBNYXNzYWNodXNldHRzIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vZS5pbmZvZ3JhbS5jb20vanMvZGlzdC9lbWJlZC5qcz9yeXoiIHR5cGU9InRleHQvamF2YXNjcmlwdCI+PC9zY3JpcHQ+

Massachusetts now has its first confirmed case of the COVID-19 variant, according to state health officials.

The state’s Department of Public Health announced Sunday that the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 has been detected in the Bay State.

This case involves the same variant that was initially discovered in the United Kingdom, state health officials say.

“Given the increased transmissibility of this variant and the number of states and other countries that have found infected cases, the department expected the variant to arrive in Massachusetts eventually,” reads a statement from the Massachusetts DPH. “The public health risk reduction measures remain the same. Individuals must continue to wear masks or face coverings while out in public, maintain 6-foot social distancing, stay home when you are sick and get tested if you have symptoms or are identified as a close contact.”

The person who tested positive is a Boston woman in her 20s, according to the DPH and the Boston Public Health Commission.

The DPH says the woman became ill the day after she returned to the United States. She had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to leaving the United Kingdom, but tested positive for COVID-19 after her return.

According to the DPH, a genetic sample was sent to an out-of-state laboratory as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s established surveillance process to identify COVID-19 variants. The State Public Health Laboratory was notified Saturday evening of the positive variant results.

In a statement, the BPHC says the woman returned to Boston on Jan. 3 and had an approximately 2-hour layover at Logan International Airport before traveling to another state. She remains outside of Massachusetts 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,” reads the BPHC’s statement. “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.”

The DPH says the woman was interviewed by contact tracers at the time the initial positive result was received, and close contacts were identified. She is being re-interviewed by public health officials now that the variant has been identified as the cause of illness.

Surveillance testing for the B.1.1.7 variant has been ongoing at the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in collaboration with clinical diagnostic laboratories and academic partners, according to the DPH. Surveillance consists of genomic sequencing on portions of COVID-19 positive specimens.

To date, the CDC has reported 88 cases from 14 states in the United States.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, but it is known to spread more easily and quickly than other COVID-19 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,” reads the BPHC statement.


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