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COVID-19 variant that originated in UK found in Forsyth County

The B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 has been identified in Forsyth County, which has been found to be more contagious, though early research found that it has no impact on the severity of the disease or the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The resident diagnosed with the variant is in isolation and contact tracing is being done to identify others who may have been exposed to it. The B.1.1.7 variant was first identified in the United Kingdom and has been found in different countries around the world and numerous states. Guilford identified its first case of the variant in late January.

Forsyth County Public Health officials encourage residents to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing the 3Ws: wearing a mask, washing your hands and waiting six apart.

Forsyth County Public Health, along with its partners in the medical community, are working hard to administer the phased COVID-19 vaccination rollout, but vaccine supply is currently limited and it will be many months before enough residents are vaccinated to create herd immunity. Residents should continue to practice the 3Ws even if they’ve received the vaccine.

“There have been 40 cases of this variant in North Carolina so we knew that Forsyth would eventually have its first case. It has been detected in 45 states so far and we know it is normal for a virus to mutate and change over time. The B 1.1.7. is more contagious, therefore it is key that we continue to fight the spread of COVID by following the 3Ws,” said Public Health Director Joshua Swift.