First Cases of Brazil COVID-19 Variant Identified in Virginia

A patient arrives at the 28 de Agosto Hospital in Manaus, Amazon State, Brazil, on January 14, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. Manaus is facing a shortage of oxygen supplies and bed space as the city has been overrun by a second surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

The first cases of the so-called Brazil COVID-19 variant have been identified in two samples from residents of Virginia, state health officials said Friday.

In a news release, the Virginia Department of Health said one case involving the P.1 variant was identified in an adult resident of the Northwest Region who had a history of domestic travel during the exposure period. The second case was identified in an adult resident of the Eastern Region with no history of travel, the department said.

According to the department, neither case had a record of COVID-19 vaccination prior to the onset of the illness.

The variant, which was first identified in travelers from Brazil in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. However, the department said, there is no evidence at this time that infections with this variant cause more severe disease.

To date, the P.1 variant has been identified in at least 22 other states, according to the health department.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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