P.1 COVID-19 Variant Detected 3-hours East of Berkshires
The Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that the first case of the P.1 COVID-19 variant of concern, which originated in Brazil, has been detected here in Massachusetts. The individual infected with the variant is a woman in her 30s residing in Barnstable County, about three-hours East of the Berkshires.
According to the press release, the Department of Public Health was notified of her test results from genetic sequencing conducted through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national surveillance system. There is no information available on the woman’s illness or whether she has recently traveled. She originally tested positive for COVID-19 in late February.
There have, to this point, been 213 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, originally found in the United Kingdom, and 6 cases of the B.1.351, which originated in South Africa, reported in Massachusetts. The B.1.1.7 variant is known to spread more easily and has caused a rapid surge of cases in the UK, several other countries, and parts of the United States.
Health officials say that the best defense against variants of concern is to prevent the spread of COVID, this includes wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding groups, staying home when you are sick, getting tested if you have symptoms or are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID, and getting vaccinated when it is your turn.