Durham County reports first case of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant

Coronavirus

Illustration of changing genetic structure to new strain. (Getty Images)

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham County is reporting its first confirmed case of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19.

The first case of the B.1.1.7 variant in North Carolina was identified Jan. 23 in a sample from an adult in Mecklenburg County processed by Mako Medical Laboratories.

The case in Durham was confirmed on Wednesday, county officials said.

The B.1.1.7 variant has been found to be more contagious than other variants.

“There have been variant cases found in several other counties across the state, as well as in at least 45 states across the nation, so we did expect that eventually we would see variant cases here as well,” said Durham County Health Director Rod Jenkins.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently available are expected to provide protection against the B.1.1.7 variant.

“It remains extremely important to follow the 3 W’s — wear your properly fitting mask, wait 6 feet apart from each other, and wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time,” said Jenkins. “It is also critical to be vaccinated when it is your turn. We know that these are the best available methods to protect against COVID-19 and its variants.”

The county health department has completed contact tracing for this case.

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