GEORGIA (WTXL) — The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Tuesday Georgia’s first case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the U.K. and in several other countries and U.S. states.
Officials said the resident is an 18-year-old male with no travel history and is currently in isolation at home.
State officials did not release information about where in Georgia the variant case was discovered.
The variant was discovered during analysis of a specimen sent by a pharmacy in Georgia to a commercial lab.
"DPH is working to identify close contacts of the individual and will monitor them closely and test them for the variant," officials wrote in a release. "Preliminary epidemiologic information suggests that this variant is significantly more contagious than the SARS-CoV-2 virus."
Right now, they said there is no evidence that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.
“The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians,” said DPH Commissioner Katheen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H. “Even as we begin roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine, we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures – wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently.”
DPH, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said they will continue to watch for emerging COVID-19 variants and will provide more information as it becomes available.