Region 1 reports first case of COVID-19 variant

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Colored visualization of electron microscopy photo of the coronavirus COVID-19.

Northern Star Staff

DeKALB – The first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 was found in Region 1 Sunday. The case is a resident of Lee County with unknown travel history as the disease investigation continues, according to a Sunday joint news release from local health departments. 

The B.1.1.7 variant was first identified in the United Kingdom and has been found in other Illinois regions such as Chicago, Cook County and Lake County. It was first identified in the U.S. in December. 

“The identification of this variant in the region was anticipated as the variant is known to spread more easily and had already been identified in Illinois in nearby regions,” said Cathy Ferguson-Allen, administrator of the Lee County Health Department. “This case is a reminder that the community must be vigilant in practicing prevention measures to protect themselves and each other from COVID-19.” 

The B.1.1.7 variant is spreading rapidly in the U.S. and is doubling roughly every 10 days, according to a new study.

Early indications are that the COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against the B.1.1.7 variant, however, information is preliminary and evolving, according to the news release. 

Illinois has administered 1.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday morning, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. DeKalb County has administered 9,093 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.