Potentially more contagious COVID-19 variant found in Rock Co.

20 cases have been found in Dane Co. so far.
(Miranda O'Bryan)
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 10:02 AM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - The COVID-19 variant first discovered in Britain and believed to be more contagious than the original strain has reached Rock County, public health officials report.

The Rock Co. Public Health Dept. made the announcement Monday morning. It noted the variant may also be linked to a greater risk of death, but cautioned that more study is needed to determine if that is true.

The health department warns, with an uptick in cases overall recently combined with a variant that potentially spreads more easily, it is more important for people to continue taking safety precautions such as wearing a mask and socially distancing.

The Variant B.1.1.7 of coronavirus first made it to Wisconsin in January and was found in Dane County in mid-February. Since then, Public Health Madison and Dane Co. has confirmed 20 total cases of the British variant.

The state Dept. of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard shows that, as of Friday, there were 78 cases of this strain detected across the state. Two cases of the B.1.351 variant, the first found in South Africa, and a single case of the third P.1 variant.

Those numbers, however, are based on a limited number of sequenced cases. DHS reports just under 8,500 specimens have been sequenced. PHMDC noted in its update to NBC15 that only approximately five percent of positive tests are sequenced, “so there are very likely more out there.”

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