Officials Watching Different COVID-19 Variants That Could Be More Dangerous
COVID-19 positive cases are trending downward in Minnesota, but now, health officials are watching different strains of COVID-19 that could potentially be more dangerous.
These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. Currently, there is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death. However, an increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
According to the CDC website, multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating around the globe:
- In the United Kingdom (UK), a new variant called B.1.1.7 has emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. This variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. This variant was first detected in September 2020 and is now highly prevalent in London and southeast England. It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada.
- In South Africa, another variant called 1.351 has emerged independently of the variant detected in the UK. This variant, originally detected in early October, shares some mutations with the variant detected in the UK. There have been cases caused by this variant outside of South Africa, but it has not been detected in the US.
- In Brazil, a variant called P.1 emerged and was identified in four travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at Haneda airport outside Tokyo, Japan. This variant contains a set of additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognized by antibodies. This variant has not been detected in the US.
In Minnesota on Tuesday, the state reported eight new COVID-19 related deaths along with 727 new coronavirus cases. That’s the fewest number of cases reported in one day since September 29.
The deaths included no one from the Lakeland viewing area. The new cases came from 10,929 tests for a case positivity rate of 6.6%. The seven-day rolling average for case positivity remains at 5.1%.
In the Lakeland viewing area, the state reported 29 new cases in the following counties:
- Aitkin – 5
- Beltrami – 4
- Cass – 1
- Crow Wing – 4
- Hubbard – 2
- Itasca – 3
- Koochiching – 2
- Lake of the Woods – 1
- Mahnomen – 1
- Mille Lacs – 3
- Morrison – 1
- Polk – 1
- Wadena – 1