Mass. DPH announces 19 new cases of COVID-19 variant

Coronavirus

BOSTON (WPRI) — The Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) has announced 19 additional cases of the B.1.1.7. COVID-19 variant, the strain originally identified in the United Kingdom.

The total number of cases identified in the state now stands at 29. DPH first identified the UK variant in Massachusetts on January 17.

Health officials said four of those 29 cases have evidence of recent travel, suggesting the majority of cases identified in Massachusetts are community-acquired.

Infected persons have ranged in age from 4 years to almost 70, according to DPH.

There have been 17 cases in Worcester Country, one in Hampden County, 2 in Middlesex County, 6 in Norfolk County, 2 in Plymouth County, and 1 in Suffolk County.

There are currently no cases of the variant in Bristol County or Rhode Island, but health officials said it’s likely here.

According to health officials, the B.1.1.7 variant is known to spread more easily and has caused a rapid surge of cases in the UK, several other countries, and parts of California and Florida.

The CDC supports wearing two masks for added protection — on top of other critical health measures already in place — including social distancing, avoiding groups, staying home when sick, getting testing if you have symptoms or are a close contact of someone with COVID, and getting vaccinated when it’s available to you.

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