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45 total cases of COVID-19 B117 variant confirmed in 10 different Michigan counties

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says variant is likely in ‘general community’

A virus.

LANSING, Mich. – The COVID-19 B117 variant continues to spread in Michigan, and the state has now confirmed a total of 45 cases across 10 different counties.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the more contagious form of COVID-19 remains a major concern.

READ: 7 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s COVID briefing on Tuesday

“While our numbers continue to trend overall in the right direction, I’m very concerned about what we are seeing with the new B117 variant,” Khaldun said.

On Tuesday, Khaldun reported a case rate of 144, a percent positivity of 4.5% and a hospitalization rate of 6% in Michigan. All three of those metrics are improving, but the spread of the COVID-19 variant puts that progress in jeopardy.

“There will be more,” Khaldun said. “While this variant first appeared in the (United Kingdom), the cases we are seeing in Michigan have not all been associated with someone who had a history of traveling, which means the variant is likely in the general community.”

The B117 variant isn’t believed to cause more serious complications from COVID-19, but it spreads more easily and could cause Michigan to see another spike in cases.

“We are in a race, as I’ve said,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “There are variants that are now present and that we have got to be concerned (about).”

On Tuesday, Michigan announced its lowest single-day case total since Sept. 22, and it was the first time the state has announced fewer than 1,000 cases since Oct. 6.

The number of new COVID-19 cases was 563. Since the start of the pandemic, the state has confirmed 569,980 COVID-19 cases and 14,965 virus-related deaths.


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