SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced Friday that a Greene County resident tested positive for the UK variant B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2.
The health department was notified by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
According to a press release, the person tested positive at the beginning of March. The Center for Disease Control randomly selected their sample as part of their genomic surveillance program. The person had not traveled domestically nor internationally.
The Health Department says a variant has one or more mutations that differentiate it from other variants in circulation. Multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been documented in the United States. The B.1.1.7 variant is classified as a variant of concern by the CDC. The CDC says the B.1.1.7 variant is up to 50% more transmissible.
“We knew that it was only a matter of time before we located the variant in our community,” said Acting Health Director Katie Towns. “We will stay vigilant and watch closely the indicators we are using to monitor the situation currently, including case counts and hospitalizations. Disease will spread as we move toward removing occupancy limitations and now that we have evidence that this variant is in our community, it makes it more important than ever for people to get vaccinated as soon as possible and protect against the severity of illness associated with the variant.”
Multiple studies have shown available vaccines have been proven effective against the B.1.1.7. variant, including one published by Yale University, the Health Department says.