First case of ‘highly contagious’ U.K. strain of coronavirus found in Illinois

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The Chicago Department of Public Health announced Friday that a new variant strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 has been detected in Illinois.

The new strain was first found in the United States two weeks ago in Colorado, and has since been found in other states.

The new strain spreads more quickly than current strains of the virus, according to health experts, who also say there is no evidence to suggest that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.

Officials also added that the current COVID-19 vaccines show evidence that they are effective against the new variant strain.

“This news isn’t surprising and doesn’t change our guidance around COVID-19. We must double down on the recommended safety strategies we know help stop the spread of this virus,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “In order to protect Chicago, please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands often, do not have outside guests in your home, and get vaccinated when it is your turn.”

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