An individual in King County examined constructive for the coronavirus on Jan. 29 and it was discovered to be the B.1.351 variant by genomic sequencing on the UW Drugs Virology Laboratory.
The announcement comes as one other variant pressure, B.1.1.7, which was first recognized within the U.Okay., has additionally been circulating within the area for a few month. Officers have discovered a complete of 39 circumstances of the B.1.1.7 variant in Washington to this point.
“The detection of those COVID-19 variants in our state reminds us that this pandemic will not be over,” Appearing State Well being Officer Scott Lindquist stated in a press release. “Regardless of the lower in our case depend, we’re very involved in regards to the emergence of those variants and the way it will have an effect on future case counts. As a neighborhood, we have to re-double our efforts to forestall the unfold of this virus and its variants by following public well being steering.”
In latest weeks, coronavirus circumstances throughout Washington have dropped considerably. As of Feb. 11, the newest date the Division of Well being has full information for, the state was seeing a mean of 900 new circumstances per day over the earlier seven days. In early January, the state was reporting a seven-day common of greater than 2,800 new circumstances.
As case charges have continued to lower, the state has slowly begun to reopen, easing restrictions in actions equivalent to indoor eating and health facilities. All areas throughout the state are actually in Section 2 of the state’s new reopening plan, which teams counties collectively into eight areas and requires they meet a minimum of three of 4 metrics to maneuver ahead.
However the unfold of the brand new variants underscores how necessary it’s for folks to proceed to observe precautions, together with sporting masks, social distancing and avoiding giant gatherings, public well being officers stated.
“COVID-19 is threatening us in new methods, and we have to rise to the problem,” stated Dr. Jeff Duchin of Public Heath – Seattle & King County. “The B.1.1.7 variant can unfold extra readily and B.1.351 viruses may cut back vaccine effectiveness. For these causes we have to proceed to do all we will to forestall the unfold of COVID-19 and push our case charges as little as attainable.”
The B.1.351 pressure might make some vaccines not as efficient, in line with early analysis, however vaccines nonetheless “present robust safety in opposition to extreme sickness and demise,” the Division of Well being stated in a information launch. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pressure will not be thought to trigger a extra extreme model of the virus. The B.1.1.7 pressure is believed to unfold by communities extra quickly, however vaccines have proven to be efficient in opposition to the pressure to this point.
Well being officers for weeks have been warning in regards to the impacts of the unfold of the brand new variants. Earlier this month, Duchin described the spread of recent variants in the neighborhood as “although we’re experiencing two outbreaks.”
“We’re presently seeing a lower in circumstances within the outbreak that we have been experiencing, from a virus we have gotten to know over the previous yr,” he stated on the time, “whereas on the identical time, a brand new outbreak menace from the variant pressure, B117, is rising and largely is silent in the mean time.”
Individuals ought to count on variant strains to turn into widespread in the neighborhood, he stated.
Well being officers stated the identical measures folks have been taking may also work to forestall the unfold of the brand new strains — however folks cannot let their guards down.