Michigan has identified its first case of the P.1 variant of COVID-19, which was first found in Brazil and is believed to be more contagious, like other variants of the virus.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services revealed the first case of this variant in Michigan has been discovered in a Bay County resident.
Officials with the Bay County Health Department are investigating the source of the infection and requiring a full 14-day quarantine for the infected person and all close contacts.
“We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “It is now even more important that Michiganders continue to do what works to slow the spread of the virus by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn.”
“This is the second new variant of COVID-19 to be identified in Bay County since last week, and the rise of these new variants definitely impact the progress we have made this year with vaccinations,” said Joel Strasz, public health officer of the Bay County Health Department.
The Bay County Health Department has investigated three cases of the B117 variant since the first case was identified in the county on March 26. No cases of the B.1.351 variant have been identified in Bay County.
The P.1 variant was first identified in travelers from Brazil during routine airport screening in Tokyo, Japan, in early January. This variant has been associated with increased transmissibility and there are concerns it might affect both vaccine-induced and natural immunity.
As of March 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 172 P.1 cases from 22 states.
As of Wednesday (March 31), Michigan had identified 1,468 cases of B117 in 51 Michigan counties and seven cases of B.1.135 variant infections in six Michigan counties.