A more infectious variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Southwest Idaho.
The variant was identified in an adult man who told health officials he had recently traveled internationally, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Health. The variant is known as B.1.351 and was first detected in South Africa.
Epidemiologists at the Southwest Health District are working with Idaho’s Department of Health to identify any people who may have been exposed to the variant and will monitor their symptoms.
In a statement Dr. Christine Hahn, the medical director for the Division of Public Health said the state was not surprised by the variant. She said recent water testing in Boise had shown that new strains of the coronavirus had arrived in the state.
Nikki Forbing-Orr, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Health, urged community members to continue to take precautions against the virus.
“The vaccines still do remain the best way to protect yourself from the virus that causes covid-19,” she said. “Even so at the Department of Health and Welfare we’re constantly reminding everyone to continue to follow those recommended precautions to wear a mask, be physically distant, wash your hands and stay home if you’re feeling sick.”
In Washington State the U.K Variant of the Coronavirus has been discovered, but healthcare leaders have not found any variant strains of the virus in Eastern Washington.