New COVID-19 variant identified in university community

January 22, 2021  //  FOUND IN: News

Three individuals in the U-M Ann Arbor community have tested positive for the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, which data suggests spreads more easily and quickly.

This includes the first known case of the variant identified earlier by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. All identified cases are connected. 

All individuals are currently in isolation and are experiencing either no symptoms or mild symptoms. Additionally, all close contacts have been identified, tested and are currently in quarantine.

The variant strain was identified as a result of regular university testing followed by additional testing in U-M labs to identify it as the B.1.1.7 variant. 

“While not unexpected, this means being even more vigilant with the public health measures that are known to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Preeti Malani, U-M’s chief health officer. “The Community Surveillance and Tracking Program offers convenient testing to all members of the University of Michigan community.”  

Testing through the Community Sampling and Tracking Program is available to the broader U-M community as well. Sign up for testing through two simple steps: register or update your information, and select a test time and date

As shared previously with the U-M community, data suggest this variant spreads more easily and quickly, so it is important to maintain vigilance and follow public health best practices. These include:

  • Avoid large social gatherings. Current public health orders restrict indoors gatherings to no more than 10 people.
  • Wear a face covering on campus and when around anyone outside your immediate household.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 weekly.
  • Wash hands frequently. 
  • Watch for symptoms, and isolate and seek medical care immediately if symptoms develop.
  • Use the ResponsiBLUE app daily.

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