MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and laboratory partners identified a second variant strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Wisconsin. A news release says this newest variant, referred to as B.1.351, was first discovered to be circulating in South Africa in samples dating back to October 2020.
According to epidemiologic and modeling studies, researchers have found that this new strain, similar to B.1.1.7 (UK variant), spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. It is not yet known if this variant has any impact on disease severity.
There is some evidence to suggest this variant may affect how some antibodies respond to the virus. Experts expect that all three currently authorized vaccines effectively reduce the risk of COVID-19 for all of the circulating variants.
COVID-19 cases for Friday, March 5
Meanwhile, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin rose by 350 Friday, March 5, officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported, for a total of 566,158.
There have been 6,477 deaths in the state, with 7 new deaths reported by state health officials Friday.
Of the positive cases, 26,387 have required hospitalization (4.7%), while 552,311 have recovered (97.6%), making for 7,211 active cases (1.3%).
More than 2.6 million have tested negative. More than 3.2 million have been tested.
As for the COVID-19 vaccine, DHS officials reported as of Friday, March 5 that 1,631,270 doses have been administered. To date, 1,895,025 doses have been allocated to Wisconsin.
COVID-19 vaccine resources & more
- Facts about the vaccine
- HealthyMKE.com -- sign-up to receive a text or email alert when the Vaccine Connector tool is ready with information on local COVID-19 vaccine providers available to you
CLICK HERE to view the Milwaukee County COVID-19 dashboard.
CLICK HERE to view the latest COVID-19 totals (updated daily at 2 p.m.) from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
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