INDIANAPOLIS (WPTA21) - The new strain of the coronavirus first discovered in South Africa has made its way to the Hoosier state.
The Indiana State Department of Health announced their labs and the CDC have confirmed the new strain as the same one identified in the UK last fall.
While it doesn't cause more severe infections, health officials say it is much more easily spread.
“It’s common for viruses to mutate, and we are seeing that occur with COVID-19,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Because this strain of the virus can be transmitted more easily, it’s more important than ever that Hoosiers continue to wear their masks, practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene and get vaccinated when they are eligible.”
To date, 567,338 Indiana residents are known to have had the novel coronavirus, an increase of 3,726 from Sunday.
Of those, 8,643 are confirmed to have died.
To date, 2,762,573 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 2,752,524 on Sunday. A total of 6,140,884 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26.
Hoosiers age 80 and older, along with healthcare workers and first responders, are now eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. To find an appointment, go to https://ourshot.in.gov.
Nearly 194,000 Hoosiers have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 24,000 have received both doses and are fully vaccinated. The Indiana Department of Health has created a vaccine dashboard that will show the latest number of vaccines administered.
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