New data shows 2.5% of variant of concern cases found in Interior

2.5% of variants in Interior

There have been 104 COVID-19 “variant of concern” cases identified across the Interior, making up about 2.5 per cent of all recorded variant cases in B.C.

The BC Centre for Disease Control recently released new data on COVID-19 variants, breaking down what variants have been identified in each health authority.

As of Friday, 60 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant have been found in the Interior Health region, while 43 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant have also been discovered. A single case of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant has also been identified in the region.

The BC CDC says the B.1.1.7 variant can spread more easily and can also cause more severe illness, while the P.1 variant may be able to re-infect people who've already had COVID-19, and some vaccines may not be as effective against it.

Provincewide, public health has identified 3,082 B.1.1.7 cases, 974 P.1 cases and 55 B.1.351 cases. There is a delay in detecting variants though, so more variant cases may be currently active in B.C.

Last week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry predicted the B.1.1.7 variant would soon take over as the majority strain in the province as it has does in other countries. She noted that so far, vaccines appear to be effective against that variant.

As of Friday, there are 833 active cases of COVID-19 in the Interior. Twenty-three people are currently hospitalized in the region, nine of whom are in intensive care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 118 Interior residents have died from the virus.

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