Houston Seal

The B.1.1.7 variant, a more contagious strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected at most City of Houston wastewater treatment plants, according to a Monday news release from the city.

First discovered in the United Kingdom, the variant was detected at 31 of the city’s 39 wastewater treatment plants on Feb. 22, according to the city. That’s an increase from Feb. 8, when it was detected at 21 of the treatment plants. It was also detected in 19 percent of the city’s overall wastewater samples collected on Feb. 22.

“The prevalence of the U.K. variant in our wastewater shows it’s actively spreading in our city,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the city. “This is another clear indication that we must continue to mask up, practice social distancing, wash our hands, get tested and get vaccinated when possible.”

The city said there have been nine cases of the U.K. variant confirmed in Houston, along with one case of the South African variant, two cases of the Brazil variant and 11 cases of the California variant.

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