Nevada health officials have confirmed the state’s first known case of a coronavirus variant that was originally identified in South Africa.
The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory said Thursday the mutated version of the virus was confirmed a day earlier in a sample traced to a person who traveled from South Africa and began showing symptoms of COVID-19 when arriving in Reno.
Experts say it’s another reason Nevadans need to be sure to keep their masks on and not to let their guard down as the state relaxes restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the South African variant has been detected in 10 states thus far, not including Nevada’s case.
Dr. Mark Pandori, the director of Nevada’s public health lab, said Thursday vaccines may be less effective on the new strain but it is not yet known if the strain causes a more severe illness. He said the new strain is not believed to be more lethal than the original COVID-19 strain.
Nevada has also reported six known cases of a more contagious coronavirus variant that first originated in the United Kingdom.