First cases of more contagious U.K. variant of COVID-19 confirmed in San Antonio area

click to enlarge A woman receives her COVID-19 vaccination at the Alamodome. - Courtesy / City of San Antonio
Courtesy / City of San Antonio
A woman receives her COVID-19 vaccination at the Alamodome.
Local health officials have identified the first two known cases of the more contagious U.K. variant of COVID-19 among Bexar County residents.

The two cases, detected by genetic sequencing, are still under investigation by San Antonio Metro Health, which pledged to share more information when it's available.

During Tuesday evening's pandemic briefing, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff  said the strain has likely been in the area for a while. He urged residents to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.

“We do need to be careful,” Wolff said. “It’s out there and it spreads very, very, very quickly.”

Health officials have found 40 cases of the U.K. variant in Texas since January. The first was detected in Houston and other cases have shown up in Dallas and Austin.

The U.K. strain doesn't appear to cause more serious illness, according to scientists. Studies also show that the current vaccines are effective against it.

“This serves as a wake-up call for the community to do your best to follow the guidance of public health authorities,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at the briefing. “Do not let your guard down.”

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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