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DHS identifies COVID-19 variant in Wisconsin

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(WAOW) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services have identified a variant strain SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in the state.

According to a press release it was found on January 12, but did not identify where.

The variant is known as  B.1.1.7, and is commonly referred to as the "U.K." variant, since that's where it was first discovered circling in November 2020.

According to DHS, the strain "was identified through ongoing surveillance and whole genome sequencing, a routine practice since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic."  

Genome sequencing is performed on a small portion of all COVID-19 tests collected.

According to DHS, researchers believe that this new strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. However, there is no evidence that the new strain causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. 

Health officials say that all virus, including COVID-19, mutate over time and variants are expected.

Click here for the full press release.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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Sierra Rehm

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