The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has reported the first case of the South African COVID-19 variant B.1.351 on Thursday.
The case was identified by LabCorp in a sample from an adult in the central part of the state who had not recently traveled.
North Carolina is the fifth state to report a case of the South African variant. Data suggest the mutant strain of COVID-19 may be more contagious than those previously discovered.
As of Feb. 11, eleven cases of infection with the variant had been identified in the Carolinas, along with California Maryland and Virginia.
“While we anticipated the arrival of the B.1.351 variant in NC, it’s a reminder that the fight against COVID-19 is not over,” NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “The emergence of variants that are more infectious means it’s more important than ever to do what we know works to slow the spread — wear a mask, wash your hands, wait 6 feet apart, and get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”
The Tar Heel State added over 4,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total to 815K since last March.