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First Missouri case of UK coronavirus variant discovered in Marion County

MARION COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced they've identified the first case of the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, in a Missouri resident on Saturday.

Officials said they identified the variant from a sample from an adult living in Marion County. They said due to privacy concerns, no other information would be released about the individual.

“We were notified today of this first B.1.1.7 variant case in Missouri, and we are working closely with the local public health agency to ensure appropriate measures are being taken regarding contact tracing and isolation and quarantine protocols,” DHSS director Dr. Randall Williams said.

Officials said the variant was first detected in the United Kingdom in September 2020 and began being reported in the United States in December. 

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 611 cases have been reported to the CDC in the United States as of February 4, with 33 states reporting cases thus far. 

According to the CDC, this particular variant is associated with increased transmissibility, meaning it can spread more quickly.

Early reports found no evidence to suggest that this variant has any impact on the severity of disease or vaccine efficacy. 

DHSS officials said they continue to advise individuals to wear a mask, practice good handwashing and physical distancing, and to stay home if not feeling well.

They said those experiencing symptoms or exposures should seeks testing. 

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Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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