DETROIT – Wayne County health officials are investigating four confirmed cases of the COVID variant, as well as four potential cases.
Officials said the four people suspected of being infected with the new B.1.1.7 variant have tested positive for COVID-19 and being retested for the variant. The results are not yet available.
Officials said those four people were in close contact with the four individuals who are already confirmed to be infected with the variant.
The four confirmed cases are from two 35-year-olds, a 41-year-old and a 42-year-old. Officials said a 35-year-old man had recently returned from international travel, whereas the 41-year-old man “recently arrived from international travel and has since left the country.”
As of Monday, Michigan officials identified a total of 17 confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant, which includes the four identified in Wayne County and the other 13 cases identified in Washtenaw County.
“As we administer our vaccine, it is important for people to mask up, wash their hands frequently, and avoid large groups,” said Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, chief health strategist for Wayne County. “We are vaccinating people as fast as vaccine is available to us. Until then, we need to keep doing the safe practices we know help lower the risk of catching or spreading the virus.”
County officials are encouraging people to get tested frequently to slow the spread of any variant of the virus. Testing sites and COVID-19 information can be found at www.waynecounty.com/covid19.
The B.1.1.7 variant, they said, “spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.”
The variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, was confirmed in a Washtenaw County resident who returned to Michigan from the UK, health officials said.