Two Washtenaw County businesses listed as possible exposure sites for new COVID-19 variant

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(WWJ) A total of five cases of the new COVID-19 variant have been identified in Washtenaw County.

The County Health Department said testing is recommended for anyone who visited the Meijer on Ann Arbor-Saline Road, near I-94 on January 17 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. or Briarwood Mall from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on that same day.

Anyone at those locations during those times may have been exposed.

Free testing is available at Pioneer High School West Stadium from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For other testing sites near you, click here.

Health officials say brief exposure is usually not a concern. However, the new variant, B.1.1.7 is known to spread up to 50% to 70% more effectively than other strains, according to Science Magazine.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there is currently “no evidence that the variant has any impact on the severity of the disease or vaccine efficacy.”

The CDC said B.1.1.7. could be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.

Michigan recorded 1,601 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and 16 more deaths in the past 24 hours. An additional 205 deaths from weeks or months ago were identified through a Vital Records Review process in which a death certificate that lists COVID-19 as a contributing factor is compared against all laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS).

Nearly half a million Michiganders are considered recovered from COVID-19 after surviving 30 days since testing positive for the virus.