COVID-19 Variants Showing Up in Richland County
March 23, 2021 — COVID-19 variants (mutations of COVID-19) have been detected in Mansfield in four COVID-19 positive tests, according to information provided to Richland Public Health from the Ohio Department of Health. Three of the four positive COVID-19 variant cases were from inmates at the Mansfield Correctional Institute.
The variant detected in Richland County is known as B.1.429 and was first detected in California. This coronavirus mutation is known to have a 20% higher transmissibility rate than the original strain.
The four cases detected in Richland County were ages 18, 24, 28, and 64. All four cases were detected by COVID-19 testing conducted between February 15 and February 22. All four cases have recovered.
The B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.427, and B.1.429 variants circulating in the United States are classified as variants of concern by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The more contagious COVID-19 variants continue to crop up across the U.S. and around the globe. Because the variants spread more rapidly, it has increased the concern among health care professionals. Public health officials say the same measures of mask use, physical distancing, hand hygiene and prompt vaccination can help prevent against infection and emerging strains.
The bad news is that B.1.429 is more easily transmitted. The good news is that:
- There is no evidence that the variant currently detected in Ohio causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, according to the CDC.
- The current COVID-19 vaccines appear to be effective against the variants.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, mutates regularly and acquires about one new mutation in its genome every two weeks, according to the CDC. Some variants affect the “spike protein” on the virus surface that attaches to human cells and are therefore more easily transmitted from person to person.
“From what we know from experience with this mutation and other mutations, it’s unlikely to have a large impact on vaccine-induced immunity, or existing immunity from previous strains,” said Dr. Greg Armstrong, Director of the CDC’s Office of Advanced Molecular Detection.
Richland Public Health has a list of COVID-19 vaccine providers in Richland County at richlandhealth.org/vaccine-registration. Richland Public Health has COVID-19 vaccination openings this Thursday and Friday (March 25 and 26) for those 40 and up. Call 1-866-395-1588 to register. Registration for ages 18 and older may also call now for appointments starting April 1. The registration number is open from 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday.