The fight against COVID-19 in South Dakota now has a new combatant.

State Department of Health officials confirmed Wednesday (April 21) that P.1 variant of coronavirus, also known as the Brazil Variant', has been detected in South Dakota.

The infection from Pennington County was verified by an out-of-state commercial laboratory and is the only case of the variant identified in the state so far, although officials advise other cases may exist in South Dakota.

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In neighboring states, five P.1 cases have been identified in Minnesota; two in Nebraska.

The variant was first detected in the United States in January of this year. It is especially concerning to doctors because it's been shown to reinfect people who have already had coronavirus and it may be more resistant to vaccines.

South Dakota's latest COVID-19 numbers show 110 new cases and 2,043 active cases in the state. There are currently 115 people hospitalized.

Since the pandemic began, 106,788 South Dakotans have been infected and 1,954 have died from coronavirus.

So far, 319,580 state residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, which translates to 53 percent of the population.

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