Washtenaw County First In Michigan To Confirm Variant Strain Of COVID-19

Jan 18, 2021

COVID-19 Variant
Credit Getty Images

The first case of a variant strain of the COVID-19 virus in Michigan was found in Washtenaw County.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry spoke with Washtenaw County Health Department spokeswoman Susan Cerniglia about what happens next and why there is concern, but not surprise. 

Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Cerniglia
Credit Susan Cerniglia / Washtenaw County Health Department

A Washtenaw County woman, who had recently traveled to the United Kingdom where this new strain of the virus originated, was confirmed to be the first such case in the state.  Washtenaw County Public Health spokesperson Susan Cerniglia says they are “concerned but not surprised” by the case.  This new strain of the COVID-19 virus is believed to be more contagious.  But she says the current COVID-19 vaccine is effective on this new strain.  She says, "The indication at this point is that the vaccine that has been developed will also be effective against this variant."

Cirniglia says this new variant strain of the virus, now present in the state, doesn’t change the way they are generally responding to the virus.  She says the same "wear a mask, wash your hands, and socially distance" protocols are still the most effective for avoiding the virus.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu