COVID-19, B.1.1.7., lands in Commonwealth

18 Janvier, 2021, 17:44 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

The state Department of Public Health announced Sunday that earlier this month the woman became ill after traveling to the United Kingdom where the variant was first discovered.

Jacob Lemieux is an infectious disease doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and joined Morning Edition to discuss what the presence of the variant in the state means.

A Boston woman in her 20s has the first confirmed case in MA of a new, highly contagious variant of COVID-19.

Though the woman tested negative before leaving the United Kingdom, she became sick one day after her arrival in the US and later tested positive.

She was reportedly interviewed by contact tracers at the time her initial positive result was received, and her close contacts were also identified.

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The CDC has now reported 88 cases across 14 states of the variant in the United States.

The concern with the COVID-19 variant is that it is even easier to spread than the highly contagious COVID-19, health officials said.

Given the increased transmissibility of this variant, and the number of states and other countries that have found infected cases, the Department said it expected the variant to arrive in MA eventually, and that the public health risk reduction measures remain the same; individuals must continue to wear masks or face coverings while out in public, maintain 6-foot social distancing, stay home when they are sick, and get tested if they have symptoms or are identified as a close contact. This strain is believed to be about 50% to 70% more contagious but is not believed to cause more severe illness or death.

DPH expected the variant would make its way to MA at some point, given the increased transmissibility and previous rate of occurrence. "The public health risk reduction measures remain the same". MA reported 4,283 new coronavirus infections on January 17, contributing to a total 448,311 cases. There are 13,372 reported deaths and over 2,100 people in the state hospitalized for the novel virus.

Younger populations (0-19, 20-29) account for the largest number of new infections.

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