COVID-19 Variant B.1.1.7 identified in five Houghton County cases

North Central UP

Hancock, Mich. (PRESS RELEASE) – The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) has been notified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in five Houghton County cases.

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant is thought to have emerged in the United Kingdom and has since
been detected in many countries and states. Compared to the original virus, the B.1.1.7 variant is
approximately 50 percent more transmissible, leading to faster spread and potentially increasing the
numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

“When a variant is identified or suspected, additional measures take place, such as a strict 14-day
quarantine,” said Kate Beer, Health Officer at WUPHD. “A new variant in our community is concerning since it can be related to higher transmission rates. Residents across the jurisdiction are reminded to continue practicing mitigation strategies including mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and getting a vaccine as soon as it is available to you. These actions help slow the spread of the virus.”

COVID-19 vaccinations are currently open to anyone 16 and older. Vaccinations can be scheduled with local providers by calling 2-1-1 or by visiting www.coppercountrystrong.com/vaccine. For more information, visit www.wuphd.org or www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.

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