New Covid-19 strain detected in Brevard County

Brevard County reports now having a new variant of COVID-19.

One case of the B. 1. 1. 7 COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in Brevard County, according to health officials.

The new, more contagious variant, which was first detected in the U.K., has also been observed in Orange, Volusia, Osceola and Seminole counties.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s no evidence to suggest the U.K. variant, which was first detected in September 2020, is more deadly or that it responds any differently to the available vaccines.

Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said the best defense against any variant of the virus is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly possible.

“The pharmaceutical companies are analyzing and the evidence suggests that vaccines continue to be effective, as it is right now, although now only we have now the UK variants, we also have the South Africa and then Brazil and who knows what else could pop,” Pino said. “So anyone who has access to the vaccine that has the opportunity should get vaccinated. The concern is that it could continue to mutate and some of the mutations could bring resistance and that’s always a concern.”

Brevard County health officials said on Friday, when the first case was confirmed in the area, that people can slow the spread of the variant the same way they have worked to with the first COVID-19 strain that hit the U.S. last year.

“The best preventative measures against variant cases are the same measures we currently encourage – social distancing, wearing face masks, frequent hand washing, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces,” Brevard health officials said.

The most recent numbers show 92 cases of the COVID-19 variant have been detected in Florida, making the Sunshine State the worst in the country alongside California, which has also reported 92 cases. In total, 28 states have reported 315 cases of the variant nationwide.

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