The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced the discovery of Georgia’s first case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 – the same variant discovered in the U.K., and several other countries, and a small number of U.S. states.
The variant was discovered during analysis of a specimen sent by a pharmacy in Georgia, to a commercial lab. The Georgia resident is an 18-year-old male with no travel history, and is currently in isolation at home. The DPH is currently working to identify all close contacts of the individual and will monitor them closely and test them for the variant.
Preliminary information suggests that this variant is significantly more contagious than the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So far, there is no evidence the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.
The Georgia Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) will continue to watch for emerging COVID-19 variants and provide information as it becomes available.