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Wyoming reports 1st case of United Kingdom COVID-19 variant

Coronavirus

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JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Health officials in Wyoming have confirmed the state’s first case of the more contagious COVID-19 variant that’s been seen in the United Kingdom.

A Teton County man tested positive for the variant COVID-19 virus strain, state and local health officials said. He’s believed to have been exposed locally rather than during a trip.

State health officer and epidemiologist Dr. Alexia Harrist said the arrival of the strain was not a surprise.

“It is not unusual for variants to emerge with viruses and that’s been happening during this pandemic with COVID-19,” Harrist said in a Saturday statement. “However, this strain is more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants and that is a serious concern.”

She said Wyoming residents should wear masks, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and stay at home when ill unless seeking medical care.

Cases of the United Kingdom variant have also been reported in Utah, Colorado, California, Georgia, Florida, New York and Oregon.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use are believed to be effective against this strain, health officials said. Preliminary information suggests the variant is significantly more contagious, though there is no evidence so far that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.

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