B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant identified in Eaton County


EATON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — An individual with the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 has been identified in Eaton County as of Sunday.

At this time, further details about this individual are unknown and the investigation is ongoing.

Sarah Surna is the spokesperson for the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.

She said the COVID-19 vaccine also protects against the variant.

“There’s no evidence that the Moderna vaccine, which is the vaccine that we’re distributing at Barry-Eaton Counties, is any less affective against the B-1-1-7 variant,” Surna said.

At this time, Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) is urging individuals to continue to take precautions against COVID-19, especially as new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 become more prevalent. These important precautions include:

  • Get vaccinated for COVID-19 when available and eligible.
  • Wear a mask around others.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Ventilate indoor spaces.

The B.1.1.7 variant was first identified in Great Britain and is the result of mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19.

According to CDC, early findings show that the B.1.1.7 variant may be associated with an increased risk of death, but more research needs to be done.

Research also shows that the B.1.1.7 variant may be more easily spread than other variants. At this time, there is no evidence that vaccines are less effective against the B.1.1.7 variant.

Surna said some viruses mutate quickly and some slowly. Scientists are still trying to figure out just how fast COVID-19 mutates.

“That’s something that scientist will be paying attention for now and in the future to see if new variants continue to pop up,” Surna said.

The first Michigan case of the B.1.1.7 variant was identified in Washtenaw County in January. Several other cases have been identified in Michigan since the first case was announced.

BEDHD continues to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals who work or live in Eaton or Barry counties. The supply of vaccine is limited and it will take time to vaccinate everyone. BEDHD encourages individuals to be patient during this challenging time.

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