It was just a matter of time before Michigan was hit with its first case of the South African COVID-19 variant, B.1.351.

The first case in Michigan was found in a boy living in Jackson County on March 8. Obviously, the boy is the only known case in the state but it's likely there are more cases that haven't been detected yet. So far the B.1.351 strain has been identified in 20 other states besides Michigan.

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People across the state are worried about the new variant because it's believed to be more contagious. According to Fox 2 Detroit, a higher rate of transmission could increase the number of people who need to be hospitalized or who lose their lives to COVID-19 should the new variant begin circulating widely in Michigan.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS:

We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan, although it was not unexpected. We continue to urge Michiganders to follow a research-based approach by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often, and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.

The best way to prevent the spread of this new variant is to keep doing what you've been doing for the past year. Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands often, practice social distancing, and get the vaccine when it becomes available to you.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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