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A new, more contagious coronavirus mutant was detected in Twin Cities, Wisconsin

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Madison, Wisconsin — A new, more contagious COVID-19 virus has been detected in Wisconsin, health officials said Wednesday.

State epidemiologist Ryan Westerguard told reporters at a video conference that state health officials confirmed on Tuesday that mutations were detected through routine genomic sequencing of a positive COVID-19 test on residents of Eau Claire County. Said that he received.

Westerguard said he had no information about the person other than traveling abroad two weeks before being tested.

Elizabeth Gyze, director of the County Health Department of Oakrea, said the individual tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of December when she returned from her trip.

The contact tracer determined that the individual had only interacted with members of his family, and all were quarantined at home, Gyze said. She refused to publish any further information about the person.

“I don’t expect the community to grow from this particular case,” she said. “We have identified all the close contacts. They were all at home. (But) we could also have this mutant strain circulating throughout our state. I know.”

This variant was first discovered in the United Kingdom in November and December. Since then, it has been discovered in Colorado, California, Florida, Minnesota, New York, and Georgia.

Health officials say the variant is more susceptible to infection — Westerguard believes researchers are nearly twice as contagious as the original COVID-19 virus — but it’s deadly Instead, the vaccine should be effective against it.

According to Westergaard, researchers don’t know why this variant is more contagious. He said it may adhere more strongly to cell receptors in the body or require fewer mutant particles to cause infection than the original COVID-19 virus.

According to Westerguard, only about 1% of positive tests in the state are regularly sequenced, which can be more extensive than this variant is aware of. It means that. He continued to wear masks and warned people to stay socially distant and avoid meetings.

“It could be spreading in a more general way,” he said. “Is there anything more? We don’t have enough data to estimate how popular it is, but it’s probably more than we know.”

The number of COVID-19 infections in the state continued to decline for the fifth straight day. State health officials reported 2,134 newly confirmed cases and 37 deaths on Wednesday. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, the state now has 513,270 infections and 5,248 deaths.

As of Wednesday, about 28,000 cases were active. Mortality remained at 1%.

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