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New Mexico confirms second COVID-19 case with B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant

  SANTA FE - The New Mexico Department of Health on Tuesday announced the state’s second COVID-19 case with the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant. This case is a close household contact of the first case, announced on Wednesday, January 13.
The female in her 30’s has experienced mild symptoms and has not required hospitalization. No additional close contacts outside of the household have been identified to date. 
The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first emerged in the UK in September, 2020. Currently, there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, nor that it has an impact on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness. However, research suggests that B.1.1.7 and other emerging variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to spread more easily and quickly than previous variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.  The Centers for Disease Control now warns that B.1.1.7 could accelerate outbreaks in the United States. CDC encourages rapid vaccination and “increased compliance” with mitigation strategies, including mask-wearing, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds.
“We know how to protect each other - but we have to act on what we know,” said DOH Secretary-Designate Dr. Tracie Collins. “We also have to get vaccinated as quickly as supplies allow.” 
DOH encourages all New Mexicans to register for vaccine at vaccinenm.org. Currently, the state is vaccinating all residents in Phase 1A as well as residents in the first two subphases of 1B. These groups include health care workers, residents 75 years or older, and residents with at least one chronic health condition.