Coronavirus RTSA

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows the appearance of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Submitted / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A variant of COVID-19 has been identified in St. Croix County, the county public health department announced in a news release March 26.

A teenager recently tested positive for the variant first found in England at the end of 2020, called the B.1.1.7.

Researchers believe this variant spreads faster and easier than the original strain, the announcement said.

Variants over time are expected, as all viruses mutate over time, St. Croix County Public Health said.

Wisconsin has seen more than 70 cases of this variant.

What this means for the county

The presence reinforces the importance of taking COVID-19 precautions.

“With new variants in our state, it is critical to continue public health practices and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Health Officer Kelli Engen said.

Vaccines are the latest tool at the public health department’s disposal, Engen said.

“Our entire healthcare community is committed to provide a vaccine to everyone who wants one,” she said.

St. Croix County Public Health asks people to:

Wear a mask

Practice physical distancing

Stay home when they are sick

Wash hands frequently

Get tested if they have symptoms or are a close contact

Get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to them

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