Livingston County reports first known case of COVID variant

More contagious COVID-19 variant B117, 2 potential exposure sites identified in Michigan county


HOWELL, Mich. – A case of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus has been identified in Michigan’s Livingston County for the first time, officials report Saturday.

The Livingston County Health Department on Saturday announced that a resident has tested positive for the COVID-19 variant known as B117, which experts say is 50 percent more transmissible than the dominant virus strain in the U.S.

The health department identified two potential COVID exposure sites related to the variant case. Anyone who visited the following locations at the following times are asked to monitor for COVID symptoms, and to immediately isolate and get tested if symptoms occur:

  • Michigan Institute of Athletics Gym in Livingston County (including friends and family members who spent time with individuals having visited this location) between Saturday, Feb. 13 and March 6
  • Grappling Industries BJJ & NOGI Round Robin Tournament that occurred on Feb. 13 in Detroit

Individuals who visited the above locations should notify any close contacts of potential virus exposure.

“The possibility of additional spread of the variant is a concern,” said Juan Marquez, Medical Director at the Livingston County Health Department. “At this point, and with the guidance of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, we are encouraging extra precautions. Seek testing if you have symptoms, have recently been exposed to COVID-19, or have recently traveled to a place where the new variant is circulating. And everyone should make sure they are using all COVID-19 precautions consistently. This includes face masks, social distancing, hand cleaning, avoiding crowds or gatherings, and following isolation and quarantine guidance.”

On Wednesday, March 3, Michigan officials reported a total of 422 confirmed cases of the B117 COVID variant in the state. That number increased from 314 cases that were reported six days prior on Feb. 24. About two-thirds of those cases have been associated with an outbreak at a correctional facility, according to the state’s top medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

“We know the new, more easily transmitted B117 variant is present, and if that variant becomes more prevalent across the state, we could see a more rapid increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” Khaldun said.

More: ‘Undetected spread in community’: COVID variant cases in Michigan rise by more than 100

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.