RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — On Saturday, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirmed the first cases of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 have been identified in samples from three adults from southwest Virginia.
Although the statement released by the VDH on Saturday, Feb. 27 did not specify where in southwest Virginia the variant cases came from, health officials say none of the cases involve travel history during their exposure periods.
All three cases have been investigated and proper contact tracing has been completed.
The new variant was first identified late last year in the United Kingdom and is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
Preliminary reports from experts in the United Kingdom indicate that this variant causes an even greater, more impactful illness than other known variants, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding.
As of Saturday evening, the B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in 44 other states or jurisdictions.
In addition, the VDH says a total of 20 B.1.1.7 variant cases and three B.1.351 South African variant cases have been identified in the Commonwealth.