St. Clair County health officials said their county’s first case of B117 was identified in February. Now, three additional cases have been confirmed.
The cases were found in a man in his 30s, a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 40s, according to the health department.
The man and the woman in her 40s have completed isolation, but the woman in her 60s has since died, officials said.
The woman in her 40s was a close contact of the woman in her 60s, according to St. Clair County health officials.
B117 was originally identified in the United Kingdom, but spread to the United States. It’s passed more easily between people, but there’s no indication that it causes more severe cases of COVID-19, experts said.
“We are doubling down with variant case investigations,” said Dr. Annette Mercatante, medical health officer of the St. Clair County Health Department. “Suspect cases will be contacted more often and required to quarantine for 14 days, versus 10.
“Since the variant can be more contagious, the virus could potentially infect more people with less exposure. It is imperative our residents continue to follow all preventive measures especially as the severity of illness and vaccine efficacy for variants are still being studied.”