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COVID-19 variant first discovered in Brazil detected in Oregon

A Douglas County resident tested positive for the variant and the case was apparently related to business travel to and from Brazil, according to a health official.
Credit: AP Images

PORTLAND, Ore. — The first case in Oregon of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in Brazil has been detected in the southwest part of the state, health officials said.

Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer confirmed Tuesday that a Douglas County resident tested positive for the variant and that the case was apparently related to business travel to and from Brazil, The News-Review reported.

The Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team said the case was confirmed Monday night from a swab sent to the CDC for genome sequence testing.

“Local Public Health shares in the worry with the CDC, (the Oregon Health Authority) and the entire scientific community, that the COVID-19 variants could be more infectious, perhaps more deadly, and maybe less well controlled by our current vaccine,” the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team said in a press release Tuesday.

Viruses are constantly mutating, and new versions – called variants – often emerge. Health officials are also concerned about variants that were first reported in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Researchers believe they may spread more easily.

Alaska, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota and Oklahoma also have reported cases of the variant first identified in Brazil.

Officials said continuing to follow COVID-19 safety measures including getting the COVID-19 vaccine, physically distancing from people not in your household, wearing masks, hand washing and and quarantining if you become infected or are in contact with an infected person remain important.

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