Dallas County officials announced the first known case in the county of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 – first discovered in the United Kingdom. This is the third known case in Texas.
The individual who tested positive is a male in this 20s with no recent history of travel outside the United States. Genetic sequencing results showed the infection was caused by the variant. According to Dallas County health officials, the individual is stable and in isolation.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a press release dated Saturday, Jan. 16, “The emergence of strain B.1.1.7, while inevitable given the mobility of the modern world and the fact that we are a major transportation hub, means that there is a strain that is 70% more contagious in our community and it will grow quickly. It’s more important than ever to wear your mask around anyone you don’t live with, to maintain six-foot distance from other masked individuals, wash your hands frequently, think of ways to avoid crowds by using tools like online shopping, curbside or delivery and outdoor exercise, and forgo get-togethers.”
January and February are slated to be the highest months of COVID-19 infection rates, according to Jenkins. He urged residents to renew efforts to slow the spread.
“The new variant will cause an overrun of our hospitals and lengthen the time before we can beat COVID and return to our pre-COVID activities,’ Jenkins said.
The variant was first identified in September and appears to spread more easily than other variants, which could lead to an increase in cases. It doesn’t cause more serious symptoms and current scientific evidence suggests the currently approved vaccines are effective.
Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said DCHHS is closely monitoring the new case and reminded residents of the importance of preventative and protective measures.
“This is now the third identified case in Texas and we can assume there are more cases in our community due to the nature of this variant and how quickly it spreads,” Huang said.
From Staff Reports • [email protected]