NCDHHS reports first identified case of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant in NC – WRAL.com

— The first case of the highly-contagious COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services identified the first case of the variant in an adult in Mecklenburg County.

The COVID variant, called B.1.1.7., was first detected in the UK in December.

According to officials, 195 cases of the COVID variant have been reported in 21 states as of Jan. 22.

“Early data suggest that this variant may be more contagious than other variants,” said NCDHHS in a statement.

Current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective against the new variant, according to officials.

“While expected, identification of this COVID-19 variant in North Carolina is concerning, especially at the same time as we are already seeing very high numbers of cases,” said Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS Secretary.

“It is more important than ever to practice the 3Ws,” she said.

Wash hands. Wear a mask. Wait 6 feet apart.

State health officials advise people to stay home except for essential activities and avoid gathering, especially indoors, with people who do not live with you.

If you absolutely must travel or be with people you do not live with, get tested in advance, keep it small and outdoors and always wear a mask.

And, of course, get an appointment for a vaccine when one becomes available to you.