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UPDATE: New COVID-19 strain was found in Eau Claire County

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WQOW) - Wisconsin health officials say the first new strain of COVID-19 found in Wisconsin on Tuesday was from someone tested in Eau Claire County.

Dr. Ryan Westergaard with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said the person did travel internationally in the two weeks prior to testing positive for the strain.

Few other specific details about the case are immediately available.

The particular variant was first detected in England in November and December. Westergaard did not say where exactly this person traveled.

Health officials say it appears this strain spreads easier and quicker than the original strain, but there is no evidence it causes worse illness or an increased likelihood of dying.

MORE: Pfizer study suggests vaccine works against virus variant

(WAOW) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services have identified a variant strain SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in the state.

According to a press release it was found on January 12, but did not identify where in the state it was identified.

The variant is referred to as  B.1.1.7, commonly referred to as the “U.K.” variant, since that’s where it was first located in November 2020.

According to DHS, the strain “was identified through ongoing surveillance and whole genome sequencing, a routine practice since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

According to DHS, researchers believe that this new strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. However, there is no evidence that the new strain causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. 

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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