The Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed the first case of the U.K. variant strain of COVID-19 in a Mississippi resident on Monday, according to a MSDH press release.
MSDH reported that the resident is not known to have traveled internationally, and the department does not know of any spread of the variant to contacts of the resident. Additional investigation is ongoing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Sunday that 1,173 cases of the strain, named B.1.1.7, had been reported across the U.S. MSDH said the variant is known to spread more easily and quickly than other strains of the novel coronavirus, according to the press release.
“While suspected, currently there is no direct evidence that this strain causes a more severe infection or a higher risk of death,” MSDH said.
The department said that it is continuing to expand its surveillance of variant strains in Mississippi and that it is likely that additional variant strain cases will be identified.
In the press release, MSDH encouraged Mississippians to wear a mask, social distance, avoid large gatherings and wash hands often. The department also encourages COVID-19 vaccination for those who are eligible.
COVID-19 case and death numbers
Mississippi reported on Monday 544 new cases of the coronavirus and two additional COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 287,980 cases and 6,464 deaths.
Lauderdale County reported 14 new cases and no additional deaths on Monday. The county has reported 6,659 cases of COVID-19 and 219 COVID-19 related deaths since March.
The state is also vaccinating its residents. The Mississippi State Department of Health reported on Sunday that a total of 442,874 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to Mississippians. 319,354 of the doses were first doses, and 123,520 were second doses.
MSDH reported that 13,349 doses had been administered to Lauderdale County residents. This number includes both first and second doses.
COVID-19 case and death numbers for local counties are listed below.
Clarke County: seven new cases; 1,655 total cases. No additional deaths; 69 total deaths since March.
Newton County: five new cases; 2,178 total cases. No additional deaths; 51 total deaths since March.
Kemper County: one new case; 881 total cases. No additional deaths; 22 total deaths since March.
Neshoba County: five new cases; 3,701 total cases. No additional deaths; 165 total deaths since March.
MSDH presumed that 253,140 people in Mississippi had recovered from COVID-19 as of Feb. 8. The department also reported that there are 113 ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term-care facilities.