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Boreal Community Media

More Contagious B117 COVID-19 Variant Identified in Cook County

Apr 06, 2021 03:02PM ● By Editor
From the Cook County Emergency Response Center - April 6, 2021

Cook County Public Health learned this week that the more contagious B117 strain of COVID-19 is present in Cook County.

“The Minnesota Department of Health randomly selects some positive COVID-19 tests for genetic sequencing,” said Grace Grinager, Cook County Public Health Supervisor. “A few of our recent cases were selected for sequencing and came up as B117, which is how we know that at least some of our recent cases have resulted from this new strain of the virus.”

The B117 strain of COVID-19 is 50% more transmissible, meaning that it passes from one person to another much more easily than the original strain. Additionally, it spreads more easily in children than the earlier strain. Across Minnesota, B117 now accounts for approximately 65% of new cases, a percentage which the Minnesota Department of Health expects to rise across the state in coming weeks.

The same public health measures we have all been practicing will continue to limit the spread of this new strain of COVID-19: in public spaces wear a mask and socially distance, if you feel sick get a COVID test and stay home from work or school, wash your hands frequently and avoid large crowds. This advice is for both people who are vaccinated and those who are not.

“With vaccination open to all community members age 16 and older, signing up for a vaccine is one of the most powerful things you can do to limit the impact of this new variant of COVID-19 on our community,” Grinager said. “The COVID-19 vaccines we have available to us are safe, work well and will save lives. They offer protection against this new variant, as well as the earlier strain of COVID-19.” 

In response to the high demand for vaccine locally, Cook County Public Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic have made 50 additional first doses of the Moderna vaccine available at this week’s vaccination event at the Community Center. There are also a few appointments for the Pfizer vaccine at North Shore Health still available for this week. All vaccination events this week will be on Thursday, April 8.  Registration is also open for events on April 15, 22 and 29. Register online at or call 218-877-8273 for assistance over the phone.


Grace Grinager, 218-387-3605 or [email protected] 
Or Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Vaccination Navigator (for appointment scheduling): 218-877-8273 or [email protected]