Officials: UK strain of COVID-19 detected in Montgomery County bartender

A rare but more contagious strain of COVID-19 that's believed to have originated in the United Kingdom has been detected for the first time in Montgomery County, health officials announced on Wednesday. 

The patient, a 30-year-old bartender, worked a double shift at a local bar and restaurant the day before becoming symptomatic, according to health officials. He tested positive for coronavirus on Jan. 15 and a state lab later detected the UK variant.

County health officials said he experienced mild symptoms commonly associated with the COVID-19 disease. County chairwoman Dr. Valerie Arkoosh said she does not believe the patient required hospitalization. He had no travel history.


"This is just a reminder that it is quite likely that this more contagious UK variant is here in Montgomery County," Arkoosh said. "If you needed another reminder to be careful in terms of wearing a mask, keeping your hands clean, and watching your distance from others this is certainly the wake up call to do so."

Very few cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 have been detected in Pennsylvania so far. The state's first case was found in a Dauphin County resident with known international exposure. Another woman from Bucks County and Philadelphia also tested positive in January. Both patients did not require hospitalization and have since recovered.


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