HOUSTON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Today, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) confirmed the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK. This the first known case in Harris County and the State of Texas.
The HCPH said that the patient is a man between 30 and 40 years old, in southwest Harris County, and has had no travel history. He is reported as stable, in isolation, and will stay there until cleared by health officials.
HCPH said that epidemiologists are identifying, notifying, and quarantining all close contacts and are conducting an investigation in conjunction with the Texas Department State Health Services (DSHS).
Based on available studies in the United Kingdom, scientists believe the B.1.1.7 variant to be more
easily transmitted than previously identified strains of the SARS-CoV-2 variant but not more severe
in symptoms. In addition, the currently approved vaccines are thought to be effective against this
“The health and safety of everyone in our community remains our top priority. Though mutations of
a virus are expected, we are closely monitoring this case and any potential contacts to prevent the
ongoing spread of the virus at all levels,” said Dr. Sherri Onyiego, health authority for Harris County,
“The prevention measures for this strain are no different and our community should continue staying home in addition to wearing facemasks, social distancing, getting tested, and washing your hands frequently. We know that our community is growing COVID fatigue, but as cases and
hospitalizations are steadily increasing, now is not the time to drop our guard down.”
The announcement from the Department continued, “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a threat to our community. As of today, the positivity rate has gone up to 16% with nearly 251,000 confirmed cases in Harris County. HCPH urges the public to stay home and get tested. In addition, residents should continue wearing facemasks, practicing social distancing (6ft/2m or greater), washing hands often, and avoid all gatherings with individuals who don’t live in your household s, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
In the High Plains, the City of Amarillo hosts weekly COVID-19 briefings, the APH releases daily case number report cards, and residents can track vaccination availability and status via amarilloalerts.com.
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