Minnesota health officials reported Monday that a resident of the Twin Cities with “recent travel history to Brazil” was found to be infected with the contagious Brazilian variant of COVID-19, according to a statement by the Minnesota Health Department.
The patient, who tested positive on January 9, is the first person to test positive for the Brazilian variant (Brazil P.1) of the virus, said officials quoted in a report by the New York Post.
“We’re thankful that our testing program helped us find this case and we thank all Minnesotans who seek out testing when they feel sick or otherwise have reason to get a test,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in a statement.
Epidemiologists are working to trace the travel history, contacts and symptoms of the illness, which is believed to be more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strain that started the pandemic last year.
The previously-identified UK and South African variants have also been found to be more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain. Recent research in Britain has produced new evidence that the UK variant may also be as deadly as the SARS-CoV-2 strain, if not more so.
For passengers traveling to the United States from abroad, a negative test from within three days of travel or certificate of prior infection will be required to board, beginning Jan. 26. Travelers are recommended to test for COVID-19 three to five days after arrival and quarantine for at least seven days. It is recommended that people consider getting tested one to three days prior to domestic travel, that they restrict their activities for at least seven days upon return, and that they get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after arrival.