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Press Release State public health officials announce new COVID-19 variant cases, urge continued protective measures

For immediate release:
2/14/2021
  • Department of Public Health

Media Contact for State public health officials announce new COVID-19 variant cases, urge continued protective measures

Ann Scales, Director of Media Relations

BostonThe Massachusetts Department of Public Health today announced 19 additional cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant. Testing completed at the State Public Health Laboratory has identified 19 infections of the B.1.1.7 variant, originally identified in the United Kingdom (UK), bringing the total number of cases known to be infected with this variant of the virus to 29 in the Commonwealth. The first case in the United States was identified in late December 2020 and in Massachusetts on January 17, 2021.

Four of those 29 cases have evidence of recent travel, suggesting that the majority of cases identified in Massachusetts are community-acquired.

Cases have ranged in age from 4 years to-almost 70; they include 13 females and 16 males. There have been 17 cases in Worcester County, one in Hampden County, 2 in Middlesex County, 6 in Norfolk County, 2 in Plymouth County, and 1 in Suffolk County.

The B.1.1.7 variant is known to spread more easily and has caused a rapid surge of cases in the UK, several other countries, and in parts of California and Florida. Two other variants of concern are the B.1.351 originally found in South Africa, and the P.1 variant, which originated in Brazil. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of those two variants in Massachusetts.

The best defense against a rapid rise in cases from variants of concern is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

New information from CDC shows that improving the fit and filtration of masks helps reduce the spread of the virus. Mask fit can be improved by using a mask with a nose wire and by using a mask fitter or by knotting the ear loops and tucking the sides. Mask filtration is improved by using multiple layers.  Learn more about how to use masks to protect yourself and others at Improve the Fit and Filtration of Your Mask to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 | CDC.

Other critical public health measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 include social distancing (staying 6 feet away from others), avoiding groups,  staying home when you are sick, getting tested if you have symptoms or are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and getting vaccinated when it is your turn.

Learn more about variants of concern at New Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 | CDC and track their presence in both Massachusetts and the US at US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants | CDC.                                                       

19 new cases

Worcester County

40s

female

Worcester County

<19

male

Worcester County

<19

female

Worcester County

40s

male

Worcester County

30s

female

Worcester County

30s

female

Worcester County

30s

female

Worcester County

40s

male

Worcester County

<19

male

Worcester County

60s

male

Worcester County

30s

male

Worcester County

50s

female

Middlesex County

<19

male

Worcester County

50s

male

Worcester County

20s

female

Norfolk County

50s

male

Norfolk County

20s

male

Middlesex County

20s

male

Norfolk County

50s

female

 

10 previous cases, since Jan. 17, 2021

Suffolk County

20s

female

Worcester County

20s

male

Worcester County

<19

male

Hampshire County

20s

male

Plymouth County

60s

male

Norfolk County

40s

male

Norfolk County

30s

female

Plymouth County

50s

female

Worcester County

50s

female

Norfolk County

20s

female

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Media Contact for State public health officials announce new COVID-19 variant cases, urge continued protective measures

Department of Public Health 

DPH promotes the health and well-being of all residents by ensuring access to high-quality public health and healthcare services, and by focusing on prevention, wellness, and health equity in all people.
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