COVID B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) Variant Has Been Identified In Porter County
As a result of random sample testing, the Indiana Department of Health has identified six confirmed B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant specimens in Porter County.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. In January 2021, experts in the UK reported that this variant may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other variant viruses, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding. It has since been detected in many countries around the world. This variant was first detected in the US at the end of December 2020.
The CDC also states that this variant may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths. So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize this variant. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway.
“We have achieved significant reductions in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths over the last few months, but the variant raises new challenges for us,” said Porter County Health Officer Dr. Maria Stamp. “It is more important than ever to practice rigorous and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, including vaccinations, social distancing, wearing masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine.”
Effective today, any Hoosier who is age 40 or older is eligible for vaccination along with public healthcare workers, first responders, licensed childcare providers, teachers and school staff. There is also a new program to vaccinate homebound Hoosiers. For more information about vaccination eligibility and setting up vaccination appointments, visit HERE,