More cases of B.1.1.7 variant reported in South Texas

Vicky Camarillo
Corpus Christi Caller Times

Two more people in Nueces County were infected with the more contagious and lethal COVID-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom, bringing the county’s total to three.

The Texas Department of State Health Services notified the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District of the two additional cases on Thursday, a news release said. The first case of the B.1.1.7 variant in the county was reported in January, and the person recovered that month.

Public health director Annette Rodriguez said the other two people tested positive at the end of February and the beginning of March, and contact tracing showed their cases were the result of community spread.

The two people have recovered.

“This B.1.1.7, as we suspected, is in our community, and it’s traveling around from person to person,” Rodriguez said during the city and county’s COVID-19 briefing.

People line up for COVID-19 testing, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Sinton. Testing was scheduled to go from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., but the site ran out of tests by 10 a.m.

More than 600 variant cases have been identified in Texas, but sequencing to identify virus variants is only done on about 10% of the tests currently being conducted. That means more cases have not been identified.

Twenty cases of the variant have been reported in the state’s Health Service Region 11, which includes Nueces County.

Region 11 runs from south of Victoria down to the valley and across to Laredo. Reported cases of B.1.1.7 are as follows:

  • Hidalgo County: 8
  • Cameron County: 5
  • Nueces County: 3
  • San Patricio County: 2
  • Jim Wells County: 1
  • Bee County: 1

Health officials urge the community to practice social distancing, wear a mask in public, wash hands frequently and get vaccinated as soon as eligible.

Vicky Camarillo covers Nueces County and statewide issues. See our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe.

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