Olympia, WA — A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Washington.
A variant of B.1.351 was first identified in South Africa in December, but has since been discovered in 10 states, including this latest case in Washington. According to the State Department, the case was identified in a King County patient who tested positive for coronavirus on January 29. The DOH states that other details about the patient and the potential spread of the mutant are still lacking. The patient could not be reached due to contact tracking efforts.
Experts have found the first case of the variant, so more cases may be found.
“The detection of these COVID-19 variants in our state tells us that this pandemic is not over. Although the number of cases is declining, the emergence of these variants and that We are very concerned about how it will affect future cases. The community needs to double its efforts to prevent the spread of this virus and its variants by following public health guidance. ” , Said Scott Lindquist, Deputy State Health Officer.
Unlike the British subspecies B.1.1.7, this second COVID-19 subspecies does not appear to spread more easily or faster than the predominant strain. However, it may be highly resistant to the vaccine.
The British variant was the first Discovered in Washington in late January.. State health experts say together that two varieties are the cause of concern.
“COVID-19 is threatening us in new ways, and we need to face the challenge,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer of King County. “The B.1.1.7 variant can spread more easily, and the B.1.351 virus can reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. For these reasons, it prevents the spread of COVID-19 and reduces the case rate. You need to keep doing as much as you can to keep it as low as possible. “
A new South African variant was identified during genomic sequencing at the UW Institute for Medical Virology. At about the same time, the lab also discovered 19 additional cases of the rapidly expanding UK variant, bringing the total number of known B.1.1.7 cases in Washington to 39.
The third variant, the P.1 variant, was discovered in Brazil and entered the United States, but has not yet been detected in Washington. Now that two new strains of the virus have been identified in Evergreen, health leaders say it’s more important than ever to continue to follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“This limits activities outside the home, wears a well-fitted face mask, and avoids or limits spending time indoors with others outside the home or in crowded indoor spaces. It means improving ventilation in the room and washing hands, “says Duchin.
For more information on the COVID-19 variant, Washington State Health Department website.
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