TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Wednesday that a CDC Emerging Variant, which has been found in 33 U.S. states, was identified in Kansas Wednesday afternoon.

Local experts said while the variant is in Kansas, procedures won’t change.

“We’ve been planning, preparing for this for some time, and currently we are not changing any of our practices. We are still caring for patients, no matter what variant strand that they have of COVID,” said Ascension Via Christi Director of Infection Prevention, Karen Bally.

As for if the hospital is sending collected samples in for testing against the UK variant?

“If a patient comes into the facility and their clinical presentation meets some of those critical criteria, then that is definitely something that our physicians would be working with the state health department on to determine whether or not additional testing needs to be performed,” said Bally.

According to KDHE, a Kansas resident in Ellis County was found to have the United Kingdom, or UK, variant known as B.1.1.7. A case investigation is being conducted to determine how the person became infected with this particular variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as if others may have been exposed. No further details are being released concerning the patient, including demographics.

Sedgwick County Health Director, Adrienne Byrne said staff has been monitoring the spread of the variant.

“We have staff monitoring CDC and reading any research that is coming out on these variants,” said Byrne. “So far the information that we’re getting is that the antibodies generated through the current COVID vaccine are covering these variants.”

The variant was determined through the whole genome sequencing (WGS) conducted through the laboratories at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

“This finding does not change our public health recommendations. We continue to encourage people to take the appropriate precautions: follow isolation and quarantine recommendations, practice physical distancing, wearing masks, good hygiene, staying home if ill and getting the vaccine if you are able to, once the supply is sufficient,” KDHE Secretary Dr. Norman said.

This variant was first reported in the U.S. at the end of December 2020. Evidence from the UK indicates that this variant spreads much more quickly through the population and, given that fact, may rapidly increase the number of hospitalizations and deaths. More studies are needed to confirm this finding.

For the latest information on coronavirus in Kansas, click here.