The first case of the highly contagious United Kingdom COVID-19 variant has been detected in a New Hampshire resident, health officials announced Friday.
The B.1.1.7 variant was found in an adult resident of Hillsborough County who had close contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus after travelling internationally.
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Contact tracing has identified close household contacts, but no other community exposures have been identified. Public health isolation, quarantine and testing guidance was followed, including testing of all close household contacts to identify asymptomatic infection. As a result, there is not believed to be risk to the community from this case.
“The presence of a COVID-19 variant in New Hampshire is not surprising, and we will likely see increasing numbers of infections from the B.1.1.7 variant,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist. “The CDC has estimated that the variant will likely become the predominant circulating variant in the U.S. in the near future. The best way to avoid exposure to this highly contagious variant is to wear a mask, social distance and frequent hand washing. We continue to recommend that any person with new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 be tested for COVID-19.”
The B.1.1.7 variant was identified because New Hampshire health officials have increased monitoring in collected specimens for COVID-19 variants due to their increasing presence worldwide.
Over 980 cases of the UK variant have now been identified in 37 other states, including Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut.