The first case of the COVID-19 variant believed to have originated in South Africa has been identified in Massachusetts, the state Department of Public Health announced Tuesday.
The B.1.351 variant was discovered in a female in her 20s who lives in Middlesex County and who had no reported travel.
The variant is known to spread easily. Genetic sequencing at the Broad Institute on behalf of the DPH confirmed the variant, which was originally identified in South Africa.
State health officials urge continued vigilance, including the wearing of secure face coverings, maintaining distance from others, avoiding gatherings and staying home when sick.
The state also continues to see new cases of the variant of the virus first detected in the U.K. The health department said Tuesday it has now detected 34 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant.