CDC Detects First Ohio Cases of Strain Found in South Africa
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported the first two Ohio cases of the more transmissible COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa, B.1.351.
With the confirmation of the variant’s presence in Ohio, the state now has multiple cases of all three variants of concern tracked by the CDC. As of Tuesday evening, the CDC reported a new total of 305 Ohio cases of a more contagious variant discovered in the United Kingdom, B.1.1.7, and three cases of a variant surging in Brazil, P.1.
The CDC’s dashboard tracking variants is updated three times per week. An additional 30 Ohio cases of the B.1.1.7 variant were reported Tuesday, after a record high report of 100 additional cases on Sunday.
P.1 and B.1.351 are more difficult to detect than B.1.1.7 because standard PCR tests can indicate a sample might be the B.1.1.7 strain.
CDC data shows COVID-19 cases are rising in most U.S. states. Ohio is seeing a slight backslide in the numbers after a couple months of declines, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday. Federal officials warn a rush back to normal amid rising spread of variants could result in another surge.
State officials have said for weeks they suspected all three variants were in Ohio. But the confirmation of B.1.351 is nevertheless a development that brings concern.
Early research shows the strain may pose problems ranging from reinfection to negation of life-saving therapeutic treatments. And in South Africa, officials sold a million doses of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine because it was not working as desired against the variant.