The Indiana State Department of Health announced Monday that a new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Indiana.
According to ISDH, the strain, which was identified through testing at the Department of Health laboratory and CDC, is the same one identified in the United Kingdom last fall.
ISDH says the new strain is "much more easily spread," but that it "does not cause more severe infections."
“It’s common for viruses to mutate, and we are seeing that occur with COVID-19,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG.
“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," Dr. Box continued.
State health officials didn't say exactly where in the state the new strain of the virus had been identified.
Hoosiers age 80 and older, along with healthcare workers and first responders, are now eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. You can find more information on registering to receive the vaccine here.
Indiana COVID-19 Update
The Indiana State Department of Health also released new COVID-19 numbers for the Hoosier State on Monday.
ISDH said Monday that 3,726 new positive cases of COVID-19 had been identified statewide, and that now, 567,338 total Indiana residents are known to have contracted the virus to date.
The state health department also said Monday that 30 new COVID-19 deaths had occurred statewide, meaning 8,643 total Hoosiers have now died from the virus.
In Vanderburgh County, 151 new positive cases of the virus were reported Monday. The only new COVID-19 death reported locally by ISDH was in Dubois County, where 69 total COVID-19 deaths are now confirmed.
More statewide and local information on COVID-19 in Indiana can be found at coronavirus.in.gov/2393.htm.