COVID variant found in Yakima County

By on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

YAKIMA – The South African variant of COVID-19 has shown up for the first time in Eastern Washington. The Yakima Health District reports that two county residents tested positive for the B.1.351 variant.

Further investigation has led the health district to believe that the infections were locally acquired, and not picked up due to travel outside the area. The first evidence of the virus in Washington showed up last month.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that the vaccines currently used in the U.S. may be less effective against this variant,” YHD officials stated in a news release. “However, vaccines still provide protection against severe illness and death. Additional studies are underway. The detection of COVID-19 variants in our state reminds us that this pandemic is not over.”

The United Kingdom variant has also shown up in Eastern Washington. The YHD says it’s critical that people double down on all preventive measures to guard against the spread of any form of COVID-19. “Now that we know there are variants in our county, we have to be even more vigilant in protecting ourselves and others to control this pandemic,” YHD Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Larry Jecha stated.