DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – Iowa health officials have confirmed to two cases of the India COVID-19 variant in the state.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) said two cases of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 were found in Iowa; this variant was first detected in India.
Officials stated the strain is not a “variant of concern,” and there is no current evidence to prove this strain has increased transmissibility or causes more severe illnesses.
The two cases were detected in an adult and an older adult in Jefferson County. Health officials have initiated contact with the individuals to understand exposures and initiate the public health monitoring process.
The State Hygienic Lab (SHL) identified the variant. SHL uses sequencing to understand what strains are circulating in Iowa along with contributing to the understanding of COVID-19 activity in the country.
“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to prevent this, or any other currently circulating strain of the virus from spreading through the population. Since the vaccine is now open to all Iowans over the age of 16, we have the opportunity to use this tool to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities,” said IDPH State Medical Director and Epidemiologist. Dr. Caitlin Pedati.
The CDC is tracking COVID-19 variants here.
Iowans who have not been vaccinated can visit this website to find vaccination sites nearby.
The emergence of new variants underscores that it remains critical for Iowans to continue the mitigation efforts that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Practice social distancing with those outside your household
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Get tested if you are exposed to, or have symptoms of COVID-19
- If you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, review CDC guidelines here