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Missouri reports first UK coronavirus variant case


Missouri has reported its first case of a patient who tested positive for the U.K. variant of coronavirus, the health department said late Saturday night. 

An adult living in Marion County tested positive for the COVID variant, B.1.1.7, the department said. A department spokeswoman said the individual is still alive, but no additional information was immediately available due to privacy concerns. 

“We were notified today of this first B.1.1.7 variant case in Missouri, and we are working closely with the local public health agency to ensure appropriate measures are being taken regarding contact tracing and isolation and quarantine protocols,” Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Randall Williams said. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this variant was first identified in the U.K. in the fall of 2020. It’s reported to spread quicker than other variants, and experts have said it could be linked to an increased risk of death. 

The first case of this variant in the U.S. was reported at the end of December; 33 states have reported these cases thus far, according to DHSS. 

Missouri reported its first coronavirus case in March 2020 in St. Louis. To date, more than 465,000 people in Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19, and 7,142 people have died. 

Over the past seven days, more than 7,000 people have tested positive, and 33 individuals have died. The positivity rate for the past week is 8.6 percent.