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Third case of UK variant detected in Utah; Person has not recently traveled

SALT LAKE CITY —  The Utah Department of Health confirms that a woman in Summit County has contracted the state’s third case of a variant of the novel coronavirus typically referred to as the ‘UK variant.”

Its technical name is the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant. It is believed to be more contagious than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

In a statement, Utah health officials said the case was found after “ongoing genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples by the Utah Public Health Laboratory.” Summit County health officials told KSL Newsradio that the woman in question does not have a recent history of travel outside of the state. 

“We fully anticipated we would find this strain in Utah, said Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist in a press release issued in mid-January.

We know this strain is more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants, and our hospitals continue to operate near or over capacity. So now, more than ever, Utah residents need to wear masks, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings.”

The case involves a woman who is between the ages of 20 and 44 from Summit County.

The Utah Department of Health says that the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use are believed to be effective against this strain. But they still recommend frequent hand-washing and sanitation, wearing a mask, and social distancing as measures that can slow the spread of the virus. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States