According to the Washington State Department of Health, the first known cases of coronavirus mutants found in South Africa appeared in King County, identifying 19 additional cases of the first mutants found in the United Kingdom.
A B.1.351 mutant of SARS-CoV-2, the first new coronavirus found in South Africa in December, was identified by genomic sequencing at the UW Institute for Medical Virology.Found in 10 states in the United States
The first B.1.1.7 strain identified in the United Kingdom appears to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, and was first discovered in Washington State a month ago.
The emergence of variants in Washington is not surprising, public health health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said at a press conference Tuesday.
The virus continues to evolve and not all variants are of concern, but what is called a “subspecies of concern” includes both British and South African variants, he said.
Duchin said the new strain should “double the efforts to prevent COVID-19 infection” for people.
“The detection of these COVID-19 mutants in our state tells us that this pandemic is not over. Although the number of cases is declining, the emergence of these mutants and that We are very concerned about how it will affect future case numbers. 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 Director of State Health.
A South African variant patient tested positive for the coronavirus on January 29, but was not reached by contact tracing efforts, so authorities do not know details such as his travel history.
Health officials urged people to follow safety guidelines: restricting activities outside the home, wearing a well-fitted face mask, outside the home or indoors with people in crowded indoor spaces. Avoid or limit your time, improve indoor ventilation, and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
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