Brazilian variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Utah, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Utah Department of Health.
CDC has only identified 54 cases nationwide. Now, the Utah Department of Health says a people in Salt Lake County who have traveled to Brazil has contracted a variant.
Jenny Johnson with UDOH, said:
We know they’re here, and in all likelihood there are more cases of this variant than we’ve found. “
Johnson said the state does not have the ability to order every positive COVID test to identify a variant. So, there may be more cases. But, they are strategic about sequencing.
So we tried to take a sample that had known travel risk factors. So, if anyone is traveling to Brazil and gets a positive result, that’s one that we are going to try to do genome sequencing. “
That’s how the Brazilian variant is identified in Salt Lake County residents who have traveled to Brazil. Now, contact tracing is key.
“Once we identify one, there will definitely be more,” said Tair Kiphibane, bureau manager for infectious diseases at the Salt Lake County Department of Health, and registered nurse.
Kiphibane said once a variant strain has been identified, it is important to know who may have been exposed. She says:
Correct. We are very vigilant in contact tracing, especially for variant cases. Just because we want to make sure that we get basically good handling. We want to make sure we hold him. “
Another piece to prevent spread? Take aim. Nels Elde is professor of human genetics at the University of Utah.
He said vaccines on the market were still effective, even with the Brazilian variant, sometimes called P1.
Much of the early testing of the vaccine, against several variants, including P1, still looks very favorable. This is still an effective vaccine. “
Elde said you don’t have to worry about which vaccine. “If you’re offered a vaccine, take it,” he said.
Dan Johnson agrees with UDOH:
It’s really a race against time now with vaccines to try to get as many vaccines as possible as fast as we can so these variants don’t survive and spread. “
Other public health recommendations made during the pandemic, such as wearing a mask and staying in the hospital when sick, were also key to preventing the spread of the variant.