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Another COVID Variant Hits State; March Cases Nearly 3 Times As Much As Feb

April 6, 2021

Another variant of COVID-19 is now present in Michigan after the state Thursday announced the confirmed case of the “Brazil variant” in a Bay County resident. 

The Brazil variant – or the P.1 variant — was first identified in travelers from Brazil during routine airport screening in Tokyo in early January, and it’s been associated with increased transmissibility and concerns that it might affect both vaccine-induced and natural immunity, according to the state’s press release Thursday. 
 
First, there was the variant discovered in the United Kingdom, the B.1.1.7 variant. Michigan now has 1,498 cases tied to that variant, and that’s second-most in the nation behind Florida’s 2,351, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
 
Then, there was the variant first identified in South Africa – the B.1.351 variant. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Michigan has seven cases tied to that one. South Carolina has the highest number of South Africa variant cases at 65, per the CDC. 
 
Michigan is also reporting six combined cases tied to two variants first found in California – B.1.427 and B.1.429. Those were just recently classified as “variants of concern,” according to the CDC. DHHS spokesperson Chelsea Wuth said the first case of the B.1.427 was identified in Michigan on March 24. 
 
The DHHS said it was notified about the Brazil variant case on March 31 after it was reported by commercial lab Quest. The Bay County Health Department is investigating the individual’s exposure history to identify the infection source. 
 
“We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan,” DHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a statement. 
 
With the Brazil variant, Florida has the most cases tied to that in the nation, with 49, per the CDC. 
 
March COVID Case Count Nearly 3 Times As Much As Feb 
 
The number of COVID-19 cases reported in March was nearly three times the amount from February, according to a MIRS review of daily COVID case reports. 
 
The cases reported during days in March amounted to 84,678, while in February, it was 28,340. 
 
However, the number of deaths reported in March was lower than last month – 570, compared to the 921 reported in February. Testing in March was up to 1.1 million after dipping to 920,775 in February. 
 
Thursday, the state reported another 6,036 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the second straight day the cases have topped 6,000. Another 49 deaths due to the virus were added Thursday. 
 
The totals for the pandemic in Michigan now stand at 678,295 cases and 16,141 deaths. 

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