CHARLESTON – Three cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, or more commonly referred to as the UK Variant, have been detected in West Virginia. Nationwide 1,523 cases have been reported including all the bordering states to West Virginia. This variant was first reported in the US at the end of December 2020. In January 2021, scientists from UK reported evidence that the UK variant may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other Covid variants.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has collaborated with West Virginia University and Marshall University to conduct whole genome sequencing which is used to detect this variant. The confirmed cases are in the north central region of West Virginia.
“While the presence of this COVID-19 variant in West Virginia is not surprising, it’s a good motivator for us to double down on the prevention efforts we’ve had in place for many months now,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “Now that we have this confirmation, as Governor Justice always says; it’s not time to be fearful, it’s time to be smart. All West Virginians should continue hand washing, social distancing, proper mask wearing, testing, and everyone should get vaccinated when it’s their turn.”