LANSING, Mich. – The variant of COVID-19 linked to South Africa has not yet been found in Michigan, according to the state’s top doctor.
On Tuesday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the state has confirmed 45 cases of the COVID-19 B117 variant across 10 Michigan counties.
That variant first appeared in the United Kingdom, but has started to spread in Michigan over the last several weeks.
“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,” Khaldun said of the B117 variant.
But at this point, Michigan doesn’t have any confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant that’s been traced back to South Africa.
“For the South Africa variant, I’ll say, we do not, at this point, know of any of that variant that is located in the state of Michigan,” Khaldun said.
Michigan laboratories are doing whole-genome sequencing for any possible samples of the South Africa variant, she said.
“But we have not identified that one, as of yet, in the state,” Khaldun said.
“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.