DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Denton County Public Health on Wednesday, Feb. 3, announced the first known case in Denton County of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant previously discovered in the United Kingdom.

The person who contracted COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, lives in unincorporated northeast Denton County and has no recent travel history.

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DCPH epidemiologists are conducting a thorough epidemiologic investigation and remain in direct communication with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“Even as Denton County ramps up the number of vaccinations this week, it is important to remember that everyone should continue to practice the CDC guidelines for social distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “We know these practices work, even as different variants of the COVID-19 virus circulate around the globe. All individuals, with or without a vaccine, should continue following these basic steps to protect the health and safety of everyone.”

Based on available research on the B.1.1.7 variant, this variant is believed to be more easily transmissible but research is still ongoing.

Thus far, the B.1.1.7 variant does not appear to cause different symptoms or symptoms that are more serious than existing variants. However, vaccine research thus far shows vaccine efficacy against this variant.

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“The UK B.1.1.7 variant test result here in Denton County underscores what we already know: COVID-19 remains an ongoing pandemic and Denton County has continuing risk,” stated Dr. Matt Richardson, DCPH Director. “Masks and physical distancing are required as we quickly deploy vaccine every week.”

Results of genetic sequencing provided to DCPH and DSHS, then confirmed by DSHS, determined this individual’s infection was caused by the B.1.1.7 variant. DCPH continues to track diseases and works with reference laboratories, as well as DSHS, to report any anomalies or variants.

To minimize spread of COVID-19, DCPH urges all community members to:

• Maintain at least six feet of physical distance in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
• Wear masks or face coverings, which should cover both the nose and mouth, in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
• Wash and/or sanitize hands frequently
• Stay home if you are symptomatic, have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or are awaiting COVID-19 test results

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CBSDFW.com Staff