1st cases of South African COVID-19 variant detected in Arizona

Mar 26, 2021, 5:53 PM | Updated: 8:46 pm
(Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Two cases of the South African COVID-19 variant have been detected in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

ADHS, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Translational Genomics Research Institute reported their findings in a press release on Friday.

The discovery comes two weeks after the Brazilian variant was detected in the state.

The B.1.351 COVID-19 variant strain — commonly referred to as the South African variant — was first detected in the U.S. at the end of January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The UK variant was also found in Arizona in January.

The CDC says that the currently authorized vaccines appear to be effective against this variant.

Officials say it is currently unknown how widely spread the variant may be in Arizona.

The state’s health department is working with laboratory and public health partners — including the CDC — to monitor the situation, according to the release.

Health officials ask the public to continue following mitigation strategies proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and washing hands.

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1st cases of South African COVID-19 variant detected in Arizona