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The COVID-19 strain from South Africa is now in Southwest Virginia

So far, this strain has been seen in 10 total states

Coronavirus testing tubes (AP)

Doctors have diagnosed a person in Southwest Virginia as having one of the new strains of the coronavirus.

An adult in Southwest Virginia tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.351, the strain that emerged in the South Africa late last year, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

[Where are Virginia’s coronavirus cases? The health department’s interactive map]

This marks Virginia’s third case of this strain.

In addition, VDH reports that there are 12 cases of the strain that first emerged in the UK here in Virginia.

Virginia Department of Health map of regions and districts shows what's considered 'Southwest Virginia' (Virginia Department of Health)

VDH says that this strain is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

In the United States, 19 cases of the B.1.351 variant have been detected in 10 states as of Feb 16.

[Virginia sees 2,304 new coronavirus cases, now reporting 557,896 statewide]

While scientists are working to better understand its impact on vaccine efficacy, early data suggests currently authorized vaccines are effective against the new variant, according to VDH.

About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.