LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Two more cases of the new variant of COVID-19, B.1.1.7, have been found in Michigan, state health officials announced Thursday night.
Both cases have been identified as adult women living in Washtenaw County. They both are considered close contacts of the first case in Michigan, which was announced Saturday.
All three cases of B.1.1.7 are associated with the University of Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The first person who tested positive for the new variant recently traveled to the United Kingdom where the virus was first detected, MDHHS says.
The state says a total of seven COVID-19 cases are linked to the first person who contracted B.1.1.7 — it is unknown at this time if the other five are infected with the variant. All eight cases were told to isolate themselves.
MDHHS says B.1.1.7 has been circling the U.S. for months. It’s believed to be more contagious, but there has not yet been evidence to show that the health effects are more severe.
“Because this variant is more contagious, we have been expecting more B.1.1.7 cases following Michigan’s first case being identified on Saturday,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive at MDHHS.
Khaldun encouraged Michiganders to continue to wear masks, social distance, avoid crowds and wash hand frequently.
For more information on the on the virus, visit the state’s website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.