HAYS, Kan. — A case of the new coronavirus strain that spread quickly in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in Kansas.
The virus variant, which has been found in 33 U.S. states, was identified in Kansas Wednesday afternoon.
A Kansas resident in Ellis County was found to have the UK variant known as B.1.1.7, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
A case investigation is being conducted to determine how the person became infected with this particular variant of COVID-19, as well as if others may have been exposed. No further details are being released concerning the patient, including demographics.
The variant was determined through the whole genome sequencing conducted through the laboratories at KDHE.
“This finding does not change our public health recommendations,” KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said. “We continue to encourage people to take the appropriate precautions: follow isolation and quarantine recommendations, practice physical distancing, wearing masks, good hygiene, staying home if ill and getting the vaccine if you are able to, once the supply is sufficient.”
This variant was first reported in the United States at the end of December 2020.
Evidence from the UK indicates that this variant spreads much more quickly through the population and, given that fact, may rapidly increase the number of hospitalizations and deaths. KDHE says more studies are needed to confirm this finding.