90 cases of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant have been found during the testing of prisoners and staff at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia.

The state started daily testing of the prisoners and staff after an employee tested positive for the variant.

According to WXYZ, during the first set of samples provided to the state, 90 of 95 tested had the variant – 88 prisoners and two employees. There are still 100 lab results pending.

The 50% more contagious strain was first detected in the United Kingdom back in December. Back in January, the CDC reported that the first Michigan case of new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7. had been identified in an adult female living in Washtenaw County by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories. The woman got it while visiting the United Kingdom.

While the strain is more contagious it doesn't appear to be more deadly and it's believed that the current vaccine will be effective in preventing it.

Protective actions that prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also prevent the spread of the new variant, B.1.1.7. So just like you've been doing, Michiganders should:

  • Get vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask around others.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Ventilate indoor spaces.

Yesterday during President Biden's Townhall, he said everyone should be able to get vaccinated by July and by Christmas of this year we should be in a much better place than we currently are. I'm hoping by then, life is starting to feel "normal" again.

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