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COVID-19 variant cases spike dramatically in Wisconsin from previous week

UW-Madison professor says rising case numbers are not a reason to panic.
UW-Madison professor says rising case numbers are not a reason to panic.(WMTV)
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 3:30 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The number of COVID-19 variant cases spiked dramatically Thursday from the previous week, with nearly 150 cases of these strains now being identified in Wisconsin.

The Department of Health Services reports finding 139 cases of variant B.1.1.7 Thursday, which is the variant that was originally discovered circulating in England. DHS also reports eight cases of Variant B.1.351, the strain first found in South Africa, and two cases of Variant P.1, which was first identified in travelers from Brazil.

Researchers have maintained that all three of these variant strains spread more quickly than the original COVID-19 strain, but more studies are needed to determine if strain P.1 and B.1.351 result in more severe of an illness.

DHS’ COVID-19 dashboard notes emerging evidence around Variant B.1.1.7 suggests it may be associated with an increased risk of death than the other two strains, but more studies would be needed to confirm this.

The first case of the variant originally found in four travelers from Brazil was reported by state officials on Friday, March 26, when there were just 78 cases of the variant originally found in the UK and two of the variant first discovered in South Africa. That was the last time DHS updated their COVID-19 variant page.

Variant B.1.1.7Variant B.1.351Variant P.1
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Fri. 3/267821
Thurs. 3/185510
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The new variants reported on Thursday comes as Sauk County Health Department reported a person in the county had tested positive for the variant strain B.1.427. The new strain, which was first discovered in California last summer, was recently upgraded to “variant of interest status” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That classification means the agency has found evidence that it is easier to transmit and evidence it symptoms are more severe.

It may be the first recorded case in Wisconsin as the latest Dept. of Health Services update shows no other confirmed cases of that variant in the state.

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