First COVID-19 Brazil variant confirmed in Georgia

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The first case of the Brazil COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday that the state has confirmed 351 U.K. variant cases, 15 South African variant cases and now the Brazil variant.

The state did not specify which county the Brazil variant was located in.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge spoke with Dr. Audrey Arona, the health director for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties, about the new variant.

“We’re not surprised about them being here. In fact, it’s probably more prevalent that we know,” she said.

It is the only case of the Brazil variant confirmed right now in the state. Arona said the UK variant, which was detected earlier in Georgia, continues to increase.

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Sbarge asked about concerns that some people in Brazil who got the original coronavirus are getting reinfected with the variant. Arona says reinfection from coronavirus can happen after 90 days.

“The CDC says there’s some implied natural immunity for up to 90 days after you’ve been positive for COVID.”

Arona stressed that is why getting the vaccine is so important. She said people should also continue to follow safety guidelines including wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing.

Arona said she is encouraged that by the end of the week the three counties she oversees will have administered at least 100,000 doses.

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]