SALT LAKE CITY — A way more infectious mutation of COVID-19 has been confirmed by state well being officers to be in Utah.
The “UK variant” of COVID-19 was present in a Salt Lake County man between the ages of 25-44 who had not traveled exterior the state of Utah just lately, the Utah Public Well being Laboratory mentioned. The person skilled delicate signs and the B117 variant was present in a genetic sequence of a COVID-19 check.
It was one thing the Utah Division of Well being had been anticipating. The person concerned shouldn’t be believed to be the one one with it within the state.
“If we detected it this shortly since we have been searching for it, it signifies to us it’s extra widespread than this one particular person,” mentioned Dr. Kelly Oakeson, the director of the state public well being lab.
State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn mentioned what makes this explicit pressure totally different is it’s rather more contagious. The UK variant spreads the identical as different types of COVID-19 (by way of droplets and the air) however it’s extra infectious.
“What has modified,is how straightforward it’s for the virus to trigger you to be sick. So for each particular person that’s contaminated with this new variant, they’re in a position to unfold it to extra people,” she mentioned.
That has the potential to additional overwhelm Utah’s hospitals, which have been working close to capability since Christmas when many disregarded well being pointers and gathered. However the excellent news is the vaccines obtainable do work in opposition to the UK variant.
“Now greater than ever, we actually must be training good public well being by sporting a face masks, staying dwelling when sick, avoiding massive gatherings and bodily distancing as a lot as we are able to,” Dr. Dunn mentioned.
The state is now in a race to attempt to vaccinate extra individuals as the brand new UK variant spreads. Not too long ago, FOX 13 reported the Utah Department of Health yanked vaccine doses from hospitals, who’ve spent the previous month inoculating frontline well being care staff, to present them to long-term care services with weak adults. That leaves lower-tiered staff and not using a shot for now.
“It is a arduous time to have a extra contagious pressure provided that it’s winter, individuals are inside extra, the vacation season simply handed and individuals are fairly frankly fatigued with all the general public well being suggestions that we’ve made,” Dr. Dunn mentioned. “That together with not sufficient vaccine to go round is regarding. However i’ll say that the vaccine offers us hope.”
The Utah Division of Well being mentioned it will not suggest additional restrictions within the state. Gov. Cox has saved in place a statewide masks mandate and well being orders limiting capability in eating places and companies.
Reacting to studies that the federal authorities could not have a reserve of COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Cox’s workplace informed FOX 13 in an announcement: “We proceed to work with the outgoing and incoming administrations to realize extra readability on the quantity and rhythm of vaccines coming to our state. We’re hopeful that we are going to see an elevated quantity of vaccines quickly.”