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Chief Health Strategist: Cases of COVID-19 caused by variants are going largely undetected

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As of Wednesday evening, the CDC has reported 76 cases of a more transmissible variant of the coronavirus. In fact, North Dakota’s Chief Health Strategist Dr. Joshua Wynne says it spreads anywhere between 1 to 2 times more quickly.

So far, no cases have been reported in North Dakota but that doesn’t mean it’s not here.

Dr. Wynne tells KX News that a PCR test, or the swab test that’s been used to detect COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic, does not detect which variant someone has. That would require further genomic testing, something Dr. Wynne says, the U.S. is behind on.

“We need to be doing that surveillance even more,” Dr. Wynne said.

“The Department of Health does it to some extent, but we collectively, in this case, we the United States, certainly should ramp up our ability to do that.”

This is something the U.S. does on a regular basis with the flu, but not with the coronavirus, meaning, it’s fair to assume there are more cases out there and more variants.

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