The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed the first COVID-19 variant strain in a Mississippi resident.A case of the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant strain of COVID-19 was confirmed during routine testing, MSDH officials said. No international travel or spread to contacts is known to have occurred, but additional investigation is ongoing.The B.1.1.7 variant strain has been identified in 40 U.S. states and is known to spread more easily and quickly than other strains. While suspected, currently there is no direct evidence that this strain causes a more severe infection or a higher risk of death, health officials said.MSDH continues to expand surveillance for variant strains in Mississippi, and it is likely that additional cases will be identified. Current available vaccines are expected to be effective against variant strains, but further research continues.Mississippians are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, social distance, avoid large gatherings and wash hands frequently. Vaccination is also encouraged for those who are eligible. Current eligibility includes Mississippi residents or those who work in Mississippi ages 65 and older, or those 16-64 with certain underlying conditions, health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.For eligibility criteria, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/covid19. To schedule an appointment at an MSDH drive-thru clinic, visit covidvaccine.umc.edu or call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-978-6453.
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                <strong class="dateline">JACKSON, Miss. —</strong>                                          <p>The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed the first COVID-19 variant strain in a Mississippi resident.

A case of the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant strain of COVID-19 was confirmed during routine testing, MSDH officials said. No international travel or spread to contacts is known to have occurred, but additional investigation is ongoing.

The B.1.1.7 variant strain has been identified in 40 U.S. states and is known to spread more easily and quickly than other strains. While suspected, currently there is no direct evidence that this strain causes a more severe infection or a higher risk of death, health officials said.

MSDH continues to expand surveillance for variant strains in Mississippi, and it is likely that additional cases will be identified. Current available vaccines are expected to be effective against variant strains, but further research continues.

Mississippians are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, social distance, avoid large gatherings and wash hands frequently. Vaccination is also encouraged for those who are eligible. Current eligibility includes Mississippi residents or those who work in Mississippi ages 65 and older, or those 16-64 with certain underlying conditions, health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.

For eligibility criteria, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/covid19. To schedule an appointment at an MSDH drive-thru clinic, visit covidvaccine.umc.edu or call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-978-6453.

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