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Williamson County confirms three cases of UK coronavirus variant

Residents who tested positive for the variant had no history of travel and were infected with COVID-19 in early February.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — A coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. has been confirmed in three cases in Williamson County, the Williamson County Cities Health District (WCCHD) said on Tuesday.

The B.1.1.7 variant has been shown to spread more easily from person to person and there is evidence it may be associated with an increased risk of death, WCCHD said. Current vaccines, however, are expected to be effective against it.

The variant was discovered and confirmed through lab testing by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Residents who tested positive for the variant had no history of travel and were infected with COVID-19 in early February.

The variant had likely been in the Central Texas area for weeks before the cases, with a Travis County resident with no history of travel also testing positive for the variant in early February.

Texas continues to see an increase in B.1.1.7 cases across the state, WCCHD said.

“It is not surprising to see the variant in our community given how rapidly it spreads,” said WCCHD Lead Epidemiologist Allison Stewart. “Even though we see a light at the end of this long tunnel with the safe and effective vaccines that have been authorized, we must continue to remain vigilant with our infection prevention practices that we know work: wearing masks any time you’re around people you don’t live with, social distancing and personal and environmental hygiene.”

Williamson County remains in the Red Phase of its COVID-19 response, with the following recommendations in place for residents:

  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you
  • Avoid crowds. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19

For more information on COVID-19 in Williamson County, visit the WCCHD website.

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