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First case of British COVID-19 variant found in Washington



Signs outside the UW Medical Research Facility at South Lake Union University in Seattle, Washington on December 10, 2020. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The Washington State Department of Health, Snohomish Health District, and the University of Wisconsin Medical Virology Laboratory discovered the first COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variants first discovered in the UK when testing samples from the state.

Two known cases have been found in the University of Wisconsin laboratoryS in specimens collected from two residents of Snohomish County. The laboratory screened more than 1

,000 samples between December 25 and January 20 to detect the mutation, and confirmed the mutation by sequencing the entire viral genome.

“We think this change of concern is here, and now we know it is here. UW Medicine Virology Lab is a huge team effort, and some new rapid tests need to be developed to detect and confirm it,” UW Medicine Clinical Virology Said Dr. Alex Greninger, assistant professor in the laboratory.

These are the first B.1.1.7 variants detected in this state, but there are likely to be other cases.

“Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters said: “Snohomish Health District has conducted standard case investigation, isolation and contact tracing before learning about these cases. “For the B.1.1.7 variant, the inclusion protocol is the same as for all other cases of COVID-19. Follow-up investigations are ongoing to learn more about these cases and the individuals who tested positive for this strain.”

The B.1.1.7 variant was first discovered globally in September 2020. It spreads easier and faster than other variants.

“Although it is important to find variants of B.1.1.7, we know that it is only a matter of time before finding evidence in Washington. In other words, the health and safety of all Washingtonians remains our top priority.” Health Secretary Umair A. Shah said. “Now that this variant has been discovered, it emphasizes the absolute importance of doubling down on all precautions to protect Washingtonians from COVID-19.”

This is a developing story.


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