2 cases of COVID-19 B117 variant confirmed in Detroit, mayor says

Mayor Mike Duggan says 2 cases of United Kingdom variant have been confirmed

A virus.

LANSING, Mich. – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said there are two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 B117 variant in the city.

The variant, which was originally discovered in the United Kingdom, is known to spread more easily than the previous strand of COVID-19.

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While approved COVID-19 vaccines are believed to be effective against the B117 strand, and it’s not linked to more severe cases of the virus, officials worry that the contagious nature of this variant will lead to another spike in overall cases.

On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state has confirmed a total of 45 cases of the B117 variant across 10 different counties.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said this 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.”

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

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.