Michigan’s first known case of the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant has been identified in Clinton County, health officials said.
Scientists first detected the B.1.617 strain in India in December. Now, the variant has been identified in an adult resident of Clinton County who recently traveled to India, according to a news release Friday from the Mid-Michigan District Health Department.
MMDHD was first notified of the B.1.617 variant on April 21, department spokeswoman Leslie Kinnee said.
It’s typical for viruses to mutate over time and preliminary research suggests the B.1.617 variant could be more contagious.
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Michigan is suffering from the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreak with 3,623 new cases reported Thursday.
Just over 40% of Clinton County residents ages 16 and over are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to 37% of eligible residents statewide, according to a state dashboard updated Thursday.
“Our best defense is for everyone to get vaccinated,” MMDHD Health Officer Marcus Cheatham said in a statement.
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Visit mmdhd.org to schedule an appointment. Cheatham also urged residents to wear masks in crowded spaces, wash their hands frequently and to follow isolation guidelines and get tested if they are exposed to the virus or experience COVID-19 symptoms.
Health officials predict at least 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity, which is the threshold after which a disease is unlikely to spread.
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