By Staff

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – The first confirmed case of the South Africa variant in Massachusetts is a Cambridge woman in her 20s, according to the city officials. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that the first case of the coronavirus B.1.351 variant had been found in the state.

There are no known close contacts connected to her case. She also has not traveled.

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According to the Cambridge Public Health Department, the woman tested positive for COVID-19 in January and isolated after the positive test. The variant was ultimately detected weeks after she originally tested positive through genome sequencing, which confirms the variant.

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“Detection of the B.1.351 COVID-19 variant is testament to the strength of our communicable disease surveillance system in the Commonwealth”, said Claude A. Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Cambridge. “It is also a reminder that this pandemic is far from over, and we all must continue to wear masks, social distance, and get vaccinated when it is our turn.”

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The CDC says the B.1.351 variant is known to spread more easily than the original strain, as is the B.1.1.7 variant originally found in the U.K. The evolution of variants are not considered to be widespread in the Commonwealth at this time. Staff