The number of cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota are dropping but a new threat is looming as health officials are seeing a new variant which is coming out of the United Kingdom making its way through the United States.

An update from the South Dakota Department of Health states there were 174 new COVID-19 cases reported along with six new deaths. What has officials concerned is the U.K. strain has hit at least 28 states here in the U.S. According to Dakota News Now, South Dakota and North Dakota have yet to see any cases of the European strain.

Dr. David Basel of Avera Health as interviewed by Dakota News Now says the state sends samples to the CDC weekly to be tested for the new strain and at Avera, testing continues. Basel reported that Avera has not found any positive cases of the new variant.

How did this new strain come about? It's believed that it started with a COVID infection in someone with a compromised immune system.

And what's the outlook for the U.K. strain? Dakota News Now indicates the CDC is expecting the strain to become the dominant form of coronavirus in the United States by the end of March.

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