BOISE, Idaho (KLIX)-Idaho health authorities announced the first confirmed case of the African variant of COVID-19 in Idaho Friday.

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the Southwest District Health, the first known infection of the COVID-19 variant was found in an adult male living in southwest Idaho; no more information was provided because it is confidential information. Health officials have determined the individual had traveled to a different country and had been exposed to the variant virus before coming back to Idaho. “We are not surprised to find this virus in Idaho” said Dr. Christine Hahn, medical director in the Division of Public Health. “As we just learned from Boise City’s wastewater testing program this week, variant strains have arrived in the state. We remind Idahoans to continue wearing masks, physically distancing, washing hands frequently, and staying home when ill. In addition to getting vaccinated when it becomes available for you, those actions are the best things we can do now.”

The variant virus was first discovered in South Africa in late 2020 and has been reported in 10 other states with a total of 19 known infections. Idaho health officials are working to determine if the man in Idaho came in contact with anyone else and may have been exposed.

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