Health Officials Detect New COVID Variant In Shelby County

Health Department officials in Shelby County have detected a case of a new coronavirus strain first identified overseas, WMC 5 reports.

In a news conference Thursday (April 29), members of the Memphis-Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force said an individual in Shelby County tested positive for a strain of the virus first found in India following a massive case surge in the country.

According to David Sweat, chief of epidemiology for the county, just one case of the B1617 strain has been found in Shelby County so far. The person had recently traveled to India and began exhibiting symptoms once they returned to the U.S. They are currently isolated and contact tracing measures have been implemented. Anyone who came into contact with the individual is quarantines and being tested.

Since the start of the pandemic, Shelby County has recorded more than 95,000 cases and more than 1,600 deaths. Currently, there are 1,577 active cases in the county, per WMC 5.

Health officials said it continues to be important they people get tested for coronavirus, even as vaccinations continue across the county. According to Sweat, around 23% of residents are fully vaccinated, and the county is getting closer to achieve 50% of its goal of vaccinating 700,000 residents.

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