By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) is urging the public to be vigilant against COVID-19 as a new variant originated in South Africa has been confirmed by the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL).

Washoe County/David Benbennick

The confirmed case of the B.1.351 South African variant is a male in his 40s with recent travel from South Africa. WCHD conducted an investigation and determined the case was not infectious during travel. This is the first confirmed case of the B.1.351 variant in Washoe County and the state of Nevada.

“As new variants of COVID-19 emerge in Washoe County, we cannot overstate the importance of wearing a mask, social distancing and limiting contact with those outside your household,” said Kevin Dick, District Health Officer for Washoe County. “We’re still learning a lot about these mutations of COVID-19 and it’s imperative that residents be aware of these new strains. As we see our COVID-19 positivity rate and cases per day trend downward, it’s important to not lower our guard. Past experiences in October-November have shown that this disease can wreak havoc on our community very quickly and we certainly don’t want to take a step backward.”

To date, 21 cases of the B.1.351 variant have been reported in 10 states, according to the CDC.

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