Nevada County Public Health received notice that two specimens for SARS-CoV-2 taken in mid-March were determined to be the B.1.1.7 variant. One specimen was taken from a COVID-19 patient on the East side of Nevada County and the other was from a patient on the West side.
“Like the discovery of the B.1.429 variant reported in Nevada County last week from a specimen in February, this is a reminder that every time an individual gets sick with COVID-19 it is an opportunity for the virus to mutate while it replicates within the body,” said Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet. “Everyone who receives a positive lab indicating they have COVID-19 should maintain isolation precautions, limiting contact with others in their household and in the community to reduce the spread of the virus.”
The B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the United Kingdom, it is designated as a variant of concern because it is approximately 50% more transmissible than the original virus, and may cause more severe disease, based on the number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with this variant. It appears to be susceptible to current monoclonal antibodies. The currently available vaccines continue to be effective against it. For more information about B.1.1.7 and other COVID-19 variants, visit the CDC website.
The best way to prevent infection is to get vaccinated. Until enough people are vaccinated, we should all continue to wear a mask while in public, maintain social distancing, wash our hands frequently. These actions help to protect others as well as ourselves.