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Highly contagious COVID-19 variant likely to make its way to W.Va.

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:23 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Health officials have discovered a more highly contagious variant of COVID-19 called “VOC”. Experts say it’s only a matter of time until it reaches West Virginia.

That new strain of COVID-19 is what turned London into a ghost town, forcing the UK into a third lockdown.

“The national statistics is telling us more 2 percent of our population is infected, that’s over 1 million people in England,” said the Prime Minister.

While the new COVID-19 variant is beginning to spread across the country, UHC infection prevention and control Dr. Mark Povroznik says, “What happens across our borders is a matter of time even for the mountain state.”

While the state hasn’t had a confirmed case of the variant yet, Dr. Povroznik says the new strain is difficult to detect from just a routine test.

“One of the concerns with the VOC is that it would affect detectability through our PCR tests. There is one subtype that it effects but the PCR tests that are used globally, they look for lots of genetic markers,” said Dr. Povroznik.

Dr. Povroznik says there are a number of mutations from COVID-19 and it’s difficult to detect but symptoms are not more severe.

“The severity of illness hasn’t been shown to be higher,” Povroznik said. “The transmissibility, which is the ability to spread from one to another, Yes.”

Dr. Povrosnik says it’s not surprising that variants of COVID-19 have formed.

“Mutations happen all the time. With mutations, the frequency of which they can occur can increase as transmissibility happen and infections happen between humans, animals, and back to humans,” Povroznik continued.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed across the country, the CDC says there is no expectation. This strain is resistant to COVID-19 vaccines, but until we get vaccinated, Dr. Povrosnik says the same centers for disease control guidelines apply.

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