COVID Variant B117 Identified In Branch County
Saturday, April 3, 2021

(COLDWATER) – Health officials says the COVID-19 variant B117 has been identified in Branch County.

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency says the individual is COVID positive and they have been in isolation since the initial COVID-19 diagnosis. Variant identification is learned after further testing of the initial specimen called sequencing.

All three counties in the tri-county area have now had a sample identified as B117.

CHA Health Officer Rebecca Burns says since the variant is more contagious, the virus could potentially infect more people with less exposure. She says that's why it is imperative the community strengthen prevention measures by wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, washing your hands frequently and getting vaccinated when it becomes available.

Based on available evidence, current tests and vaccines for COVID-19 also work against this new variant. Protective actions that prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also prevent the spread of the new B117 variant.