First Case Of South African Covid-19 Variant Is Detected In Massachusetts

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A woman from Middlesex County is the first person in the Commonwealth to contract a Covid-19 variant that originated in South Africa.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have been monitoring the B.1.351. variant that was detected for the first time in the United States in January. The strain is believed to be highly contagious, similar to other Covid-19 variants from the U.K. and Brazil.

State health officials announced the detected case on Tuesday night. They said it is a woman in her 20's who has not traveled recently and doesn't know where contracted the strain.

The announcement comes as Massachusetts also reports nearly three-dozen cases of the U.K. strain of Covid-19.

The state is continuing to warn Commonwealth residents to keep following guidelines to protect against the spread of Covid-19 -- like social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing.

At this time medical experts believe the vaccines currently being distributed are still effective against the new strains, and still help reduce the risk of having a severe infection that requires hospitalization.

WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports.

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Written by Rachel Armany

(Photo: Getty Images)

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