The first case of a COVID-19 variant strain has been confirmed in Mississippi.
The Mississippi State Department of Health announced that a case of the UK variant (B.1.1.7) was confirmed during routine testing although a location wasn’t specified. According to the MSDH, the strain, which has been identified in 40 states, is known to spread more easily and quickly than other strains, but there is no direct evidence that it causes a more severe infection or a higher risk of death.
According to the MSDH, it’s likely that additional variant cases will be identified as they expand surveillance.
The methods for slowing the spread of the variant remain the same with officials urging you to continue wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings and washing your hands often.
Both of the approved vaccines are expected to be effective against variant strains, but further research continues. Currently in Mississippi, those over 65 and those with underlying conditions are eligible to be vaccinated in addition to healthcare workers.
State-run vaccination sites are closed today due to the severe winter weather. To date, the state has administered over 440,000 doses.