Minnesota reports first cases of coronavirus variant
January 11, 2021
Minnesota reported Saturday its first cases of a new variant of the pandemic coronavirus, a strain that has stoked worldwide concern for apparently spreading more quickly than others.
First detected last year in the United Kingdom, the variant was identified in specimens from five residents of four Twin Cities metro area counties, according to an announcement by the Minnesota Department of Health.
The variant strain is not thought to be more virulent than those that have been widely circulating in Minnesota, Kris Ehresmann, the state's director of infectious diseases, said in a statement. But Ehresmann said the prospect of a more contagious variant underscores the importance of slowing the spread by wearing masks, maintaining social distance and quarantining if exposed to a positive case.