Health Department: New COVID-19 variant of concern found in Upshur County

In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department reported that a new COVID-19 variant has been discovered in Upshur County — B.1.429, better known as the California Variant. According to the CDC, the California Variant was first identified in February 2021 and has been labeled a variant of concern because it can spread more easily, leading to higher case totals and possibly more deaths.

“These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19,” the CDC states. “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 these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway.”

Here’s the full release from the health department:

The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department has been notified that the California Variant (B.1.429) of COVID-19 is now in Upshur County.

Currently, we know of only one case and have no other information to share. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available. We will not release any personal information related to this case.

We encourage everyone to follow the guidelines put out by the CDC, State of West Virginia and the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department. These guidelines include proper hand and cough hygiene, mask wearing, physical distancing and to consider being vaccinated.

The next Community Vaccine Clinic will be held on Friday, April 30 at the new National Guard Armory on the Brushy Fork Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome while supplies last.

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