The first case of the South African coronavirus variant has been found in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
DHHS officials said the case was found in a sample from an adult in the central part of the state who had not traveled. In order to protect the privacy of the person, no other information will be released.
The B.1.351 variant was first sound in South Africa in October. North Carolina joins South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia in reporting cases of the variant.
As of Feb. 9, nine cases have been found in the United States.
Health officials have cautioned data shows the variant is more contagious, but doesn’t cause more severe disease.
DHHS is updating it’s recommendations for mask wearing based on updated guidance from the Center for Disease Control:
- Make sure mask fits snugly against face and covers the nose and mouth.
- Use two or more layers for your face covering.
- Do not wear two disposable masks.
- Make sure you can see and breathe easily.
Last week, South Africa suspended plans to give doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers after data from a small clinical trial suggested it wasn’t as effective in preventing mild to moderate illness from the variant.
AstraZeneca said on Thursday that an updated version of the vaccine should be ready by fall.