Covid variant found in Waupaca County
Health officials warn residents to remain vigilant
Waupaca County Public Health reported lab results have confirmed that the B.1.1.7 variant of the COVID-19 virus, has appeared in Waupaca County.
The individual tested positive for COVID-19 in late January and has already completed the subsequent isolation period.
As of March 8, there are 26 known cases of this variant identified in Wisconsin.
Cases of B.1.1.7 are identified through ongoing surveillance and whole genome sequencing, a routine practice since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, change through mutation, and new variants of the virus are expected to occur over time.
Variant B.1.1.7 was first discovered in England last November.
Researchers believe this new strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of of the covid virus, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Only a small proportion of all COVID-19 tests are sequenced, and it is likely there are already many more cases of this variant around Wisconsin and surrounding states.
“The presence of the variant highlights the need to remain vigilant about preventing the spread of COVID-19,” according to a press release from Waupaca County Public Health.
Since March 2020, the pandemic has killed 157 people and sent 250 people to the hospital in Waupaca County.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Waupaca County have dropped from a high of 363 the first week of November 2020 to 26 cases the first week of March 2021.
As of Wednesday, March 10, the National Guard will no longer be collecting samples for covid testing at the Waupaca County Fairgrounds.