MUSKEGON — A case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 has been detected in Muskegon County, the county’s health department reported late Monday afternoon.

MERCY TESTING

Mercy Health Partners employees are shown staffing a drive-through COVID-19 testing location in Muskegon in April 2020.

The individual has completed their isolation and close contacts were quarantined after the initial COVID-19 diagnosis, Public Health Muskegon County said in a release.

Variant identification is learned after initial COVID-19 diagnosis when further testing of the specimen has been performed.

The COVID-19 virus, as expected with a coronavirus, has changed over the past year. The B.1.1.7 variant identified in the United Kingdom and has now been found in most U.S. states and many Michigan counties.

“Because of increased laboratory surveillance to detect the variant, we expected to eventually find a case in Muskegon County,” explained Kathy Moore, health officer and director of Public Health Muskegon County. “It’s important for our community to know that this variant is circulating here and it spreads more easily and quickly, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.”

Rigorous and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies – such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine – is essential to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and protect public health, health officials say.

Any Muskegon County resident who has traveled or has possibly been exposed to an individual infected with COVID-19 is urged to get tested for the virus. Visit Michigan.gov/coronavirustest to find your nearest test site.

– Contributed

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