The Nevada County Public Health department announced today that it has confirmed the first identified instance of the B.1.429 Variant of COVID-19 in Nevada County. Public Health officials requested genetic sequencing of a positive test in February, after a person who already had COVID-19 was re-infected. Results from the State lab came back yesterday.
B.1.429 is one of the West Coast variants and is listed as a Variant of Concern by the CDC. Evidence suggests that these variants are more easily transmissible, can lead to more severe disease, and may be less responsive to treatment. As of April 1, 2021, there were 6,287 known cases of the B.1.429 variant in California.
“This adds urgency to the need to vaccinate as many people as we can, before a variant emerges that is not susceptible to our current vaccines,” said Nevada County Deputy Public Health Officer Glennah Trochet. “And for those who are not yet vaccinated, it is crucial to continue to wear masks, social distance, and avoid gatherings. Every time someone gets infected with this virus, they provide an opportunity for the virus to mutate as it replicates millions of times within their body.”
Last week, the Public Health department expanded vaccine eligibility at their Whispering Pines clinic in Grass Valley to anyone age 16 or over. Appointments are released on MyTurn.ca.gov every Friday at noon.
Though this is the first confirmed case of a variant in Nevada County, health officials caution that it is very likely that variants are already widespread in the county. “Because it is currently so difficult to get whole genomic sequencing, we do not know how widespread this particular variant is and if there are others circulating in Nevada County, but it is safe to assume that there are,” Trochet said.
“This is just another reminder that this pandemic is not over,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann. “We’re seeing our case rates rise and are concerned about the increasing numbers of infections in younger adults. We must do everything we can to limit the spread. I’m asking every individual to do their part—wear a mask, avoid gatherings, and get vaccinated.”
For more information about B.1.429 and other COVID-19 variants, visit the CDC website.
The Nevada County Public Health department releases vaccine appointments on MyTurn.ca.gov every Friday at noon. Learn about additional vaccine appointment options at MyNevadaCounty.com/Get Vaccinated.