SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Department of Public Health said Monday that it has identified 8 additional cases of a more contagious coronavirus variant in Illinois.
All 9 cases reported so far in Illinois have occurred in residents who live in Cook County, including Chicago.
The IDPH says it identified the variant strain, first identified in the United Kingdom, based on specimens collected between December 29th, 2020, and January 15th, 2021.
“With reports of this variant already in many states in the U.S., we anticipated its spread here in Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Early studies have found that this variant spreads more easily than what we have seen with the current prevailing variant. We are following closely to see if there is evidence that infections by this variant cause more severe disease or death. Based on the information available now, the vaccine will still be effective. Continued masking and vaccination when it is your turn remain our best path to defeating this virus as quickly as possible.”
In addition to the U.K. variant, public health experts have discovered other variants of the virus in South Africa and another in Brazil.