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 on Monday 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 Tuesday that 1,277 cases of the strain, named B.1.1.7, had been reported across the U.S., in a total of 42 states. 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.
323,008 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered by Mississippi providers, MSDH reported on Wednesday. 126,807 second doses have been administered by providers in the state.
COVID-19 case and death numbers
Mississippi reported on Wednesday 684 new cases of the coronavirus and 23 additional COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 289,398 cases and 6,524 deaths.
COVID-19 case and death numbers for local counties are listed below.
Lauderdale County: 21 new cases; 6,701 total cases. No additional deaths; 220 total deaths since March.
Clarke County: four new cases; 1,664 total cases. No additional deaths; 69 total deaths since March.
Newton County: 10 new cases; 2,200 total cases. No additional deaths; 51 total deaths since March.
Kemper County: three new cases; 887 total cases. No additional deaths; 22 total deaths since March.
Neshoba County: 14 new cases; 3,726 total cases. No additional deaths; 165 total deaths since March.
MSDH presumed that 264,456 people in Mississippi had recovered from COVID-19 as of Feb. 15. The department also reported that there are 112 ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term-care facilities.