The first case of the South African coronavirus variant has been found in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
DHHS officials said the case was found in a sample from an adult in the central part of the state who had not traveled. No other details were released because of privacy concerns.
The B.1.351 variant was first sound in South Africa in October. North Carolina joins South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia in reporting cases of the variant.
As of Tuesday, nine cases have been found in the United States.
The variant was detected in the United States for the first time in South Carolina in late January.
Health officials have cautioned data shows the variant is more contagious but doesn’t cause more severe disease.
DHHS is updating its recommendations for mask wearing based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Make sure the mask fits snugly against your face and covers your nose and mouth.
- Use two or more layers for your face covering.
- Do not wear two disposable masks.
- Make sure you can see and breathe easily.
Last week, South Africa suspended plans to give doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers after data from a small clinical trial suggested it wasn’t as effective in preventing mild to moderate illness from the variant.
AstraZeneca said on Thursday that an updated version of the vaccine should be ready by fall.