Highly contagious COVID-19 variant spreading in Texas

UK Covid variant spreading through Texas

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - “Austin has seen cases, Houston has seen cases. And so, we’re starting to see it spread in Texas. so, you can bet we’re probably going to see it in Lubbock at some point,” Dr. Mike Ragain, Chief Medical Officer at UMC, said.

It is only a matter of time before the highly infectious UK variant of COVID-19 reaches the Hub City.

San Antonio became the latest Texas city to confirm its presence in the community. As of Tuesday, the CDC reports there are 932 cases of the B.1.1.7. mutation across 34 states.

“That’s going to double every 10 days. It will get big, fast over a period of a few weeks,” Dr. Ragain said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said the variant could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of March.

According to the CDC it could be linked to higher risk of death, but it reports more studies are needed.

Finding the variant in a community, is a lot like finding a needle in a haystack.

“To have a suspicion is, if somebody had had the virus previously, they got it again, we’d say ‘ah, that might be a variant, we need to send that specimen in to be evaluated,’’” Ragain explained.

Another reason, could be a fully-vaccinated person getting infected as well.

But as of yet, no samples from Lubbock have been sent in to be processed.

“Our number of active infections is down, our new infections our numbers are down, hospitalizations down. Employees out because of COVID is down,” he said. “There’s not really anything that points to us to say... there’s something going in the community that would make us want to do surveillance,” Ragain added.

There is one possible case that is being considered for variant testing but since no laboratories in our area are able to sequence the genome, it will have to be sent to the state.

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