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Health officials explain the UK variant of coronavirus

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 6:14 PM EST
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W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia state health officials have found the UK variant of coronavirus in Monongalia County.

Dr. Lee Smith from the Monongalia Health Department says this is something to be aware and precautious of.

West Virginia University announced that there were three cases in the Morgantown area and two out of the three were WVU students. Dr. Smith says they believe the variant entered the state sooner than discovered.

“It looks like the virus entered into West Virginia about January,” said Dr. Smith.

Through genetic sequencing, WVU was able to identify the three cases and are working closely with the health department to investigate and contact trace.

“What we do know is that the UK variation is much more infectious,” Dr. Smith said.

Although Dr. Smith says they don’t have proof as to whether or not this variant makes individuals sicker, Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s coronavirus czar, says there is some good news.

“The vaccines we have appear to be effective against this variant,” said Dr. Marsh.

Both Dr. Marsh and Dr. Smith added that the normal practices to protect yourself from the virus are also being seen as effective.

“Be aware that now is not the time to drop your guard. We’re probably going to be doing these activities late into the fall, probably October before we can begin to kind of take a break,” said

Dr. Smith says the health department is continuing the genetic testing to make sure they can catch any other cases of the variant.

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