Health officials: Movements of Minnesotan with Brazil COVID-19 variant 'unknown'

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health said that they are still piecing together the whereabouts of a Minnesotan who is the first person in the nation to test positive for a strain of COVID-19 found in Brazil.

"We have been re-interviewing the person to obtain more details about the illness, travel and contacts," said Dr. Lynfield. "We are the first state to find the variant, but it doesn’t mean that we are the first state to have this variant circulating."

The Twin Cities metro resident contracted the virus in Brazil and fell ill upon returning home. The person was diagnosed on Jan. 9. Their movements before the diagnosis are unknown.

State health officials said there is no indication that the Brazil P.1 variant isn’t widely circulating. They also said current COVID-19 vaccines will still work against it.

Dr. Mai C. Moua, a family medicine physician with Allina, said that vaccines currently in use should work against all new variants. Meanwhile, the CDC upgraded recommendations to a two or three-layer mask and even cutting down time at the store. 

"I think that it’s really important that we try to avoid other people, wash our hands and wear our masks," Dr. Moua said.

So far, eight cases of the U.K. variant have been detected in Minnesota. While the Brazil P.1 variant is thought to be more transmissible, health officials say it's still not clear if it causes more severe disease.