We are now learning more about the new COVID-19 variant detected in Erie County on Wednesday.

The Erie County Department of Health announced this new variant is easily transmissible.

We spoke to the Erie County Department of Health. This is the U.K. variant also known as the B1.1.7 variant.

The Erie County Department of Health said that the individual is recovered, but now they’re questioning how fast this could spread.

Erie County Department of Health announced on Wednesday the first COVID-19 variant. The individual tested positive through a random sampling on February 28th which was reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“That’s why there was a delay of the test sample of February 18th and not getting the result until the middle of March and how they get shipped into the CDC,” said Melissa Lyon, Erie County Department of Health.

Director Lyon believes that community spread was a factor with the new variant added that this person did not travel internationally or come in close contact with someone from out of state.

Lyon said that while the individual has recovered from the virus, the new variant spreads more easily.

“The normal COVID was infected they could infect ten people. We believe this one is more contagious. We believe that one person could give it to 20 people. It’s just an example,” said Lyon.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health is working with hospitals to prepare a Phase 1B plan.

“I know the information we received from the DOH by May 1st they would like to obviously expand into the phase 1B,” said Jason Chenault, Director of Emergency Services at UPMC Hamot.

Currently more than 58,000 people are partially vaccinated and 34,000 are fully vaccinated.

It is still unclear when we will head into phase 1B. Director Lyon told us that they have multiple conversations with the State Department of Health on a weekly basis on when we could see the next phase.