A variant of the COVID-19 virus has been found in Idaho.
On Friday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare confirmed the first known variant of the virus in the Gem State.
IDHW said it was found in an adult male in southwest Idaho. The man had recently traveled internationally and health officials believe he was exposed to the variant outside of Idaho.
No other details about the man or the case were given.
However, IDHW said the man was confirmed to have the B.1.351 variant, which was first discovered in South Africa in late 2020.
At least 10 other states have reported that particular variant but IDHW said it's the first case in Idaho.
Epidemiologists at Southwest District Health are working to identify any close contacts who were possibly exposed to the man.
“We are not surprised to find this virus in Idaho” said Dr. Christine Hahn, medical director in the Division of Public Health. “As we just learned from Boise City’s wastewater testing program this week, variant strains have arrived in the state. We remind Idahoans to continue wearing masks, physically distancing, washing hands frequently, and staying home when ill. In addition to getting vaccinated when it becomes available for you, those actions are the best things we can do now.”
The Idaho Bureau of Laboratories continues to expand the number of Idaho samples being tested to identify emerging strains.
This variant was identified among the first SARS-CoV-2 samples sequenced by IBL.