OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Outagamie County Public Health Division was recently notified of lab results that have confirmed the variant strain B.1.351, first identified in South Africa, has made its first known appearance in Outagamie County.
According to a release, the person tested positive for COVID-19 in early March and has already completed the required isolation period. As of March 26, this is the second identified case of this variant in Wisconsin.
In the state, officials explain how cases of B.1.351 are identified through ongoing surveillance and whole-genome sequencing, routine practice since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. All viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, changes through mutation, and new variants of the virus are expected to occur over time.
“The presence of the variant highlights the need to remain vigilant about the presence of COVID-19 in our communities and continue important mitigation strategies such as washing your hands, staying home when you are sick, wearing a mask, and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Natalie Vandeveld, Outagamie County Public Health Officer/Manager.
The Outagamie County Public Health Division says they will not be doing new releases if additional variant strains are found among Outagamie County residents. Only a portion of all COVID-19 tests are sequenced and it is likely that there are already many more cases of this variant around Wisconsin and surrounding states.
More information regarding the COVID-19 variants can be found on the Wisconsin Department of
Health Services website.