OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Public Health is confirming that for the first time the B.1.1.7 (UK) and B.1.429 (California) variants were detected in two different Okanogan County residents.
The variants were identified through genomic sequencing at the Washington Department of Health Public Health Laboratory. Samples were obtained from individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in late April. Both individuals are recovering without requiring hospitalization, according to a Public Health statement released Wednesday, May 5.
Variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are now circulating widely throughout Washington state. “The B.1.1.7 and B.1.429 variants appear to spread more easily and quickly compared to other variants, so it is imperative that Okanogan County residents continue to take COVID-19 safety precautions. In addition to wearing a mask in indoor public spaces and washing hands frequently, the COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective tool to decrease COVID-19 case numbers,” stated Public Health.
As of May 4, Okanogan County’s COVID-19 incidence rate is 167 per 100,000 people, or 72 new cases within the past 14 days. Cases are occurring throughout the county and are not localized to one location, therefore the risk of infection remains high.
The COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against the virus variants and are highly effective at preventing severe illness.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines and to register for an appointment, visit: https://okanogancountycovid19.org/covid-19-vaccine/ or https://spanish.okanogancountycovid19.org/la vacuna-covid-19/.