RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Wednesday that another case of a COVID-19 variant has been identified.
Officials say the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Northwest Virginia who recently returned to Virginia after international travel.
The variant, which officials say first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
The state's first case was announced on January 25. Officials say the variant was found in a resident of Northern Virginia who has no reported recent travel history. Virginia has now identified three cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the Northern Region, totaling now 4 cases. Officials say it is likely that additional cases will continue to be identified in Virginia.
According to a preliminary report from experts in the United Kingdom, this variant causes more severe illness than other variants, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding.
The Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) confirmed the case using sequencing that provides a genetic blueprint of the virus that causes COVID-19.
DCLS has informed the CDC of the case.