The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed two additional cases of the COVID-19 U.K. variant in the state. The variant is frequently referred to as the U.K. variant because it was first detected in the United Kingdom. This variant spreads more easily from one person to another than other viral strains currently circulating in the United States. LDH says current COVID-19 vaccines are thought to be effective against the variant strain but further study is needed to determine if there is increased disease severity associated with the variant strain.
The additional confirmed cases were detected in an individual in Region 5 (Southwest Louisiana), and in an individual in Region 1 (Greater New Orleans area). A case investigation and contact tracing were performed to identify, inform and monitor anyone who was in close contact with the Region 5 case. The health department said this individual did not report a history of travel outside of Louisiana. Case investigation and contact tracing are ongoing for the new Region 1 case. Another 14 additional suspect variant cases are pending confirmatory testing. The health department said eight of these suspect cases are in Region 1 and six are in Region 5. The state’s first confirmed case of the variant was identified in Region 1.