The Virginia Department of Health announced Friday that the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.351 was identified in a sample from an adult resident of Eastern Virginia.
VDH is currently investigating the case and assessing the person's travel history.
According to the VDH, the B.1.351 variant first emerged in South Africa in late 2020 and is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. This variant has been identified in only two other U.S. states, South Carolina and Maryland.
In addition to this case of the B.1.351 variant, four cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom, have now been identified in Virginia. With the combined state and national surveillance efforts, it is likely that additional cases with variants of concern will be identified.