SEDWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Monday that eight new cases of the United Kingdom, or UK, variant known as B.1.1.7, have been identified in Sedgwick County. According to KDHE, these cases were identified in individuals all living in the same household and do not appear to be connected to earlier cases in Kansas.
KDHE stated a case investigation is being conducted and close contacts of those confirmed with the variant have been notified.
The total of UK identified variants in Kansas is now at 10. The first case was identified in February in Ellis County, followed by a second case in Sedgwick County. The initial two cases are believed to have been exposed through separate, out-of-state travel.
The variant was determined through the whole genome sequencing (WGS) conducted through the laboratories at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
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.