Genesee County, MI— Health officials have confirmed at least one case of a more contagious Brazilian COVID variant Genesee County. 

Evidence suggests the variant, known as P.1, can re-infect individuals previously infected with the original COVID-19 virus, according to a press release from the Genesee County Health Department. 

The P.1 variant was first identified in four travelers from Brazil who tested positive during screening at Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan. 

Case investigation and contact tracing has been performed for the resident who tested positive on March 23 after additional testing was performed at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories. 

This is the second P.1 variant found in Michigan, according to the GCHD. It was first detected in the U.S. in January. 

At present, the GCHD has also reported 30 cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, which is associated with an increased risk of death compared to the other variants. 

The GCHD said that while the variants are more contagious, “measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain the same.” 

Those measure include: 

  • Wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing
  • Continuing to follow the Governor’s executive orders and avoid large gatherings
  • Following the guidance of Public Health and the guidelines in the Governor’s executive orders
  • Getting vaccinated. Everyone ages 16 and up are now eligible for the vaccine in Michigan. 

A list of vaccination sites in Genesee County can be found here.

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...