Oregon reports 1st case of United Kingdom COVID-19 variant

Coronavirus
Model of a coronavirus cell (CDC via AP, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon health officials have confirmed the state’s first case of the COVID-19 variant that’s been seen in the United Kingdom.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said on Friday that a Multnomah County resident with no known travel history had tested positive for the variant COVID-19 virus strain.

“The detection of the first case of this variant strain is a concern, and we have been monitoring movement of this strain,” Dean Sidelinger, M.D., health officer and state epidemiologist at the Oregon Health Authority, said in a news release. “As we learn more about this case and the individual who tested positive for this strain, OHA continues to promote effective public health measures, including wearing masks, maintaining 6 feet of physical distance, staying home, washing your hands, and avoiding gatherings and travel.”

Multnomah County public health staff will work through the weekend to go back over details with this individual related to their isolation plan, contacts and any possible exposures, according to the news release.

Cases of the United Kingdom variant have also been reported in Utah, Colorado, California, Georgia, Florida and New York.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use are believed to be effective against this strain, health officials said. Preliminary information suggests the variant is significantly more contagious, though there is no evidence so far that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.