LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new strain of the COVID-19 coronavirus has been identified in Indiana.
The Indiana Department of Health made the announcement Monday morning.
"The strain, which was identified through testing at the Department of Health laboratory and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the same one identified in the United Kingdom last fall," the agency said in a news release. "It does not cause more severe infections, but it is much more easily spread."
The health department did not specify where in the state the new strain was found.
In a statement, State Health Commissioner Kris Box said it is common for viruses to mutate and health officials are seeing that with COVID-19.
"Because this strain of the virus can be transmitted more easily, it's more important than ever that Hoosiers continue to wear their masks, practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene and get vaccinated when they are eligible," she said.
The agency reported 3,726 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number of Indiana residents known to have had the virus since the beginning of the pandemic to 567,338.
Additionally, 30 more deaths were reported, bringing the total number of Indiana residents to have died from the virus to 8,643.
To date, 2,762,573 tests have been reported to ISDH, up from 2,752,524 on Sunday.
Indiana's seven-day positivity rate, which is a measure of the proportion of tests returning positive, was 16.5% as of Monday, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard.
In southern Indiana, Clark County reported 81 new cases on Monday for a total of 9,694 confirmed cases and 122 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. No additional deaths were reported in the county on Monday. According to the health department, the county's seven-day positivity rate is currently 21.1%.
Floyd County, which currently has a seven-day positivity rate of 14.9%, reported 46 new cases of the virus on Monday, bringing the county's total confirmed cases to 5,811 and 104 deaths. No additional deaths were reported Monday.
For a breakdown of cases in the state by county, click here.
To find a testing location near you, click here. More than 200 locations are available across the state.
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