CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah’s Third Case Of UK Variant Found In Summit County

Feb 1, 2021, 4:47 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm
FILE (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)...
FILE (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

PARK CITY, Utah – The state’s third case of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant, commonly referred to as the U.K. variant, has been found in a Summit County resident, according to county health officials.

The case was discovered through ongoing genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples by the Utah Public Health Laboratory.

Officials said the case is a Summit County woman between the ages of 20 and 44 with no recent travel history.

“We fully anticipated we would find this strain in Utah,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. “We know this strain is more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants, and our hospitals continue to operate near or over capacity. So now, more than ever, Utah residents need to wear masks, practice physical distancing and avoid large gatherings.”

The first case of the B.1.1.7 variant was identified in Utah on Jan. 15. Health officials said the variant is more contagious, but Dunn said symptoms, “don’t appear to be more severe or more deadly.”

Experts also believe current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against this variant.

“Frequent hand washing and sanitization, wearing a mask and social distancing are all measures that can mitigate the spread of all strains of COVID-19,” Summit County health officials said.

And while Utah’s critical COVID-19 numbers are currently headed in the right direction, doctors said the variant, along with variants discovered in South Africa and Brazil, could change that.

“It’s definitely a concern of ours to be really monitoring this current situation with the viral variants,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease doctor at Intermountain Healthcare. “It just emphasizes the fact that we need to get vaccines out because it looks like the vaccines are protective against these variants.”

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Utah’s Third Case Of UK Variant Found In Summit County