South African variant of COVID-19 detected in Mississippi

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) announced the more infectious and vaccine-resistant B.1.351 variant strain of COVID-19, which originated in South Africa, was detected in Mississippi. The virus was found in a Harrison County resident.

The South African variant was first detected in the U.S. in January 2021. Mississippi is the 25th state that the variant has been detected in.

In February 2021, MSDH announced the first case of the B.1.1.7 UK variant strain of COVID-19 was confirmed during routine testing.

On Friday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted there has been increased mortality in community-tested cases of the UK variant strain. He said health leaders are concerned about the strain in Mississippi.

Dobbs encouraged Mississippians to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccinations are open for all adults in Mississippi. People can get vaccinated at state-run drive-thru sites in counties across the state, at private clinics and community health centers and some pharmacies, like Walmart and Walgreens.

People eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine can make an appointment at or by calling the COVID-19 call center at 1-877-978-6453.

Dobbs encouraged Mississippians to continue simple, protective measures to prevent spreading the virus. He advised wearing face masks in public and avoiding large indoor social gatherings.

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