DHS: Variant of virus causing COVID-19 not seen in humans found in Dane County wastewater

Coronavirus COVID-19

MADISON, Wis. — A variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 that has not been seen in humans has been found in Dane County wastewater, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Thursday.

In an email to News 3 Now, DHS said the variant was found using wastewater surveillance and that there has not been any evidence it has sickened anyone.

DHS and Public Health Madison & Dane County are offering free COVID-19 testing to an unspecified Dane County business following the news.

“To date, this variant has not been seen in wastewater samples from other areas of the state,” a DHS spokesperson wrote. “It has also not been seen in samples collected from people. Health officials do not believe this variant is spreading in the community. The additional testing is being done to identify whether this variant is causing an infection in any of the people who work in the area.”

The agency stressed the variant currently poses a low risk to the public but that it is doing follow-up testing to learn more.

“If evidence emerges that links this variant to any increased risk of illness to the general public, DHS will provide an update immediately,” the spokesperson said.

This story is developing; stay with News 3 Now and Channel 3000 for updates.