SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia has found its first case of the new coronavirus variant, B117, the state health department announced Tuesday.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the variant has been identified in an 18-year-old Georgia resident. He has no travel history and is currently in isolation at home, officials said.

DPH tells News 3 they are unable to release the county the variant was discovered in at this time.

“The emergence of this variant in our state should be a wake-up call for all Georgians,” said
DPH Commissioner Dr. Katheen Toomey. “Even as we begin roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine, we must not let down our guard and ignore basic prevention measures – wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently.”

DPH said the variant was discovered during the analysis of a specimen sent by a pharmacy in Georgia to a commercial lab.

“Preliminary epidemiologic information suggests that this variant is significantly more contagious
than the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” DPH stated. “So far, there is no evidence that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.”

This is the same variant first detected in the U.K. It has been found in several other countries and U.S. states since.