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New strain of COVID-19 found in Tennessee, TDH confirms

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 2:37 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A new, potentially dangerous strain of COVID-19 has been reported in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

TDH officials said seven specimens were sent to the CDC for analysis. The CDC confirmed the specimens to be the B117 variant of COVID-19.

According to TDH, Tennessee is among 20 states reporting COVID-19 cases caused by variants.

Health officials said the new strain could be more dangerous because it could be more contagious, up to twice as transmissible, than other known strains of COVID.

“Viruses constantly change and new variants are expected to occur over time,” a statement from TDH said. “This does not change our response to COVID-19 in Tennessee, but serves as a reminder of the need for continued vigilance and practice of simple actions we can all take to prevent further spread of COVID-19: wash hands frequently, limit gatherings, maintain social distance, wear a mask in public and get vaccinated when you qualify to do so.”

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