Louisiana Department of Health confirms first case of new covid variant in New Orleans area

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This electron microscope image made available and color-enhanced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md., shows Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, orange, isolated from a patient. (NIAID/National Institutes of Health via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Saturday, the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed the state’s first case of the U.K. covid variant in the Greater New Orleans area. This variant of the illness is common in the United Kingdom and it spreads more easily from person to person than other strains of the virus. However, there is no proof that this variant creates a more severe case of the disease. Despite the new strain showing up in the New Orleans area, health experts believe the current covid-19 vaccine is effective against the variant.

 “It was always a matter of time before this new strain of the virus would reach Louisiana, which is why our state health experts have been monitoring cases and working with the CDC to prepare. There is no such thing as taking this too seriously. Our case counts and hospitalizations are increasing daily and deaths from COVID have reached an alarming rate,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. Edwards adds that everyone should wear a mask, keep social distancing in mind, and to wash your hands frequently.

The Department of Health is conducting contact tracing to to identify and inform anyone who may have been in contact with the person who tested positive for this new strain of the virus. Since this strain is more contagious, health officials are urging Louisianans to do the following:

  • Wear masks,
  • Wash hands,
  • Practice distancing, 
  • Avoid gatherings, 
  • Stay home when sick, 
  • Quarantine and get tested if exposed to a positive case, and
  • When it is your turn, consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

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