The first case of a COVID-19 variant that is said to be more contagious has been identified in Dallas County, according to county officials.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Saturday that the variant was identified in a Dallas man in his 20s who had no recent history of travel outside the U.S. The man is stable and is in isolation.
The health department is working to identify and notify anyone who had close contact with the man.
Jenkins said genetic sequencing showed the infection was caused by the variant. It is the third case in Texas caused by the variant and the first in North Texas.
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The two other cases were reported in Harris County and Nueces County.
"The emergence of strain B.1.1.7, while inevitable given the mobility of the modern world and the fact that we are a major transportation hub, means that there is a strain that is 70% more contagious in our community and it will grow quickly," Jenkins said in a written statement.
The variant was first identified in the United Kingdom in September, and health care officials have said it appears spread more easily and quickly than other variants, but it does not seem to cause more serious symptoms.
The currently approved vaccines are thought to be effective against the variant.
“This is now the third identified case in Texas and we can assume there are more cases in our community due to the nature of this variant and how quickly it spreads," Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said. "We must remain vigilant in our fight against this virus and continue all preventative and protective measures such as wearing our mask, washing our hands, and physical distancing."