(WXYZ) — A case of the P.1 or Brazil COVID-19 variant has been identified in a Bay County resident, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.
The Bay County Health Department has been notified and is investigating the individual’s exposure history to attempt to identify the source of the infection.
The county is also confirming appropriate isolation measures, recontacting identified contacts and requiring a full 14-day quarantine period for all close contacts.
"We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan," said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director, in a press release. "It is now even more important that Michiganders continue to do what works to slow the spread of the virus by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible."
“This is the second new variant of COVID-19 to be identified in Bay County since last week, and the rise of these new variants definitely impact the progress we have made this year with vaccinations,” said Joel Strasz, public health officer of the Bay County Health Department.
The Bay County Health Department has investigated three cases of the B.1.1.7 variant identified since the first case was identified in the county.
The P.1 variant was first identified in travelers from Brazil during routine airport screening in Tokyo, Japan in early January. This variant has been associated with increased transmissibility and there are concerns it might affect both vaccine-induced and natural immunity.
As of March 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 172 confirmed P.1 cases from 22 states. As of March 31, Michigan has also identified 1,468 cases of B.1.1.7 variant infections in 51 Michigan jurisdictions and seven cases of B.1.135 variant infections in six Michigan jurisdictions.
MDHHS says the available COVID-19 vaccines also work against this new variant.
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