The new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 that was first reported in the United Kingdom has been identified in Indiana, according to state health officials.
The Indiana Department of Health made the announcement Monday. The strain has been found in other states like California and Colorado.
It does not cause more severe infections, but it is much more easily spread, Indiana health officials said in a statement.
“It’s common for viruses to mutate, and we are seeing that occur with COVID-19,” Indiana Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D. said in the statement. “Because this strain of the virus can be transmitted more easily, it’s more important than ever that Hoosiers continue to wear their masks, practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene and get vaccinated when they are eligible.”
To date, 567,338 Indiana residents are known to have had the novel coronavirus. Of those, 8,643 are confirmed to have died, health officials said.
There have been no confirmed reports of the new strain in Illinois.