Second case of B117 COVID-19 variant identified in New Mexico

Coronavirus New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Health has announced the state’s second COVID-19 case with the B117 coronavirus variant. According to NMDOH, the case is a close household contact of the first case that was announced on Wednesday, January 13.

NMDOH report that the female is in her 30s, has experienced mild symptoms and has not required hospitalization. No additional close contacts outside of the household have been identified to date.

Health officials say the B117 coronavirus variant first emerged in the UK in September 2020 and at this time, there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, or has an impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Research suggests that B117 and other emerging variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to spread more easily and quickly than previous variants and may lead to more cases of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control warns that B117 could accelerate outbreaks in the United States and encourages rapid vaccination and “increased compliance” with mitigation strategies that include wearing masks, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds.

“We know how to protect each other- but we have to act on what we know,” said DOH Secretary-Designate Dr. Tracie Collins in a press release. “We also have to get vaccinated as quickly as supplies allow.”

NMDOH encourages all New Mexicans to register for the COVID-19 vaccine at vaccinenm.org. At this time, the state is vaccinating all residents in Phase 1A and residents in the first two subphases of 1B which include health care workers, residents 75 and older, and residents with at least one chronic health condition.

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