Doctor: U.K. variant will be dominant strain in SD

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The U.K. variant is expected to become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the South Dakota, according to the state’s epidemiologist.

South Dakota has 20 cases of COVID-19 variants, a number that hasn’t changed in two weeks. Neighboring Minnesota is among a handful of states with some of the highest growth of more contagious variants.

Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton says more young people are being infected and they need to be aware that the U.K. variant spreads easier and can be more severe in some cases.

“Such as the 20- to 29-year-old population, perhaps due to just the increased rate of transmission of the B-117 variant, but just in general individuals in that age group do need to pay attention to some of the prevention and precautions in order to avoid the transmission of COVID-19 the original virus as well as the new variant virus,” said Clayton.

South Dakota’s State Health Lab, the CDC and private labs are all doing the genetic sequence testing to track down variants in South Dakota, KELO-TV reported. Clayton could not say how many cases they’ve found, but all evidence points to high numbers of the variants in the coming weeks.

“At this time we are looking to add some information to our website that further defines what we are seeing in those variants in terms of affected populations,” said Clayton.