B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant found in Ottawa County

B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant found in Ottawa County

March 16, 2021 OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) — A case of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant has been detected in Ottawa County, local health officials say.

It’s the first case of the variant for the county, which was reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The patient is a person under the age of 20 with no known travel history, according to the Ottawa County Health Department. He or she is being kept in isolation and close contacts have already been identified.

“With the case not having any travel history and the variant being highly transmissible, we are urging all people take extra precautions to avoid infection and furthering the spread of the virus,” said Ottawa County Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Heidel.

As of March 11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has recorded 3,701 confirmed B.1.17 cases in the country. The state of Michigan says it has confirmed a total of 613 cases, 380 of which are within the Michigan Department of Corrections, which saw an outbreak at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the variant has also been found elsewhere in West Michigan, including Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Van Buren counties.

The B.1.1.7 variant, which was initially identified in the United Kingdom, is not currently believed to lead to more serious cases of COVID-19, but it does spread about 50% faster.

Michigan has also confirmed one case of the B.1.351 variant that originated in South Africa, with that patient in Jackson County. B.1.351 is also highly contagious.