COVID-19 variant detected in DeKalb County

Image obtained via the city of Tucker's Facebook page.

DeKalb County, GA — A new and potentially more lethal version of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in DeKalb County, according to the state Department of Public Health.

“The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is confirming there are now 19 cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 identified in Georgia,” the Department of Public Health announced. “This is the same variant discovered in the U.K. and in several other countries and U.S. states. So far, no other COVID-19 variants have been identified in Georgia.”

The B.1.1.7 cases were found in individuals age 15 to 61, including eight males and 11 females. The cases were detected in the following counties:

– Carroll

– Cherokee

– Clayton

– Cobb

 -DeKalb

– Douglas

– Fulton

– Gwinnett

– Paulding

“DPH is working to identify close contacts of the individuals, and will monitor them closely,” the Health Department said.

According to the BBC, the variant discovered in the U.K. may be more lethal than the original virus.

“Previous work suggests the new variant spreads between 30% and 70% faster than others, and there are hints it is about 30% more deadly,” the BBC reported. “For example, with 1,000 60-year-olds infected with the old variant, 10 of them might be expected to die. But this rises to about 13 with the new variant.”

Fortunately, it appears the COVID-19 vaccines available are just as effective against this variant.

“The CDC has said this U.K. variant is likely to be the dominant strain in the U.S. by sometime in March,” Georgia DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey said. “We must ensure we are taking every precaution right now to prevent transmission of COVID and to avoid a surge in hospitalizations and loss of life.”

The measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are effective for both the original virus and variant. Those measures include wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, frequent handwashing, avoiding large gatherings and getting a COVID vaccine when you are eligible.

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