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The more contagious coronavirus strain has reached Wisconsin, DHS warns – WMTV – NBC15

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The new coronavirus variant originally found to be widely circulating in England has reached Wisconsin.

The Dept. of Health Services reported it confirmed the variant, which appears to spread more rapidly and quickly than the current strain, was found Tuesday in Eau Claire. DHS noted that while apparently more contagious, the new strain does not seem to be deadlier or cause more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

“We already know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted through respiratory droplets, and with this new variant appearing to be even more infectious, taking preventative measures like wearing a mask and physically distancing are even more important,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway had previously warned that the variant was likely already in the state after it was confirmed in neighboring Minnesota. DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard noted mutations of viruses are “very common” and that coronavirus variants were expected.

“As time goes on in the pandemic and the virus continues to replicate on a large scale, the genetic sequence of the virus will change,” he said.

The mutated strain was discovered with the help of laboratory partners, DHS explained, by ongoing surveillance and whole genome sequencing.

This story is still developing. NBC15 will update it as more information becomes available.

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