Health officials on Thursday, January 7, 2021, announced the first confirmed case of the new, more contagious COVID-19 variant in Pennsylvania.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said an individual in Dauphin County tested positive after known international exposure. This variant is the same one that was first discovered in England in December.
Scientists in the UK have said there’s no evidence that it causes any more severe illness, but it may be able to spread more easily.
The individual had mild symptoms, which have since been resolved while they completed their isolation at home, officials said.
“Pennsylvania has been preparing for this variant by working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been sending 10-35 random samples biweekly to the CDC since November to study sequencing and detect any potential cases for this new COVID-19 variant,” Levine said. “Public health experts are in the early stages of working to better understand this new variant, how it spreads, and how it affects people who are infected with it.”
To date, there have been 609,905 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and 16,914 Pennsylvanians have died from the virus.