SM County: UK Variant Detected in Wastewater Analysis!

SM County: UK Variant Detected in Wastewater Analysis!

San Miguel County just announced that the UK variant of Covid-19 was detected in wastewater analysis. This variant of concern accounts for 70% of COVID copies in recent sample.

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San Miguel County Public Health has detected a variant of concern, known as B.1.1.7, from a wastewater treatment sample taken on March 16.

GT Molecular, the laboratory that analyzes county wastewater samples, utilizes samples to identify two key mutations of the COVID virus to determine whether these variants, that have higher transmissibility, are present. The presence of both of these mutations is a strong indicator that the B.1.1.7 variant is circulating within the community. According to the analysis, the B.1.1.7 variant of concern accounted for 70% of COVID copies identified in last week’s test.

“The eventual arrival of this variant of concern was expected,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “And while our overall caseload is relatively low, the percentage of the variant detected relative to the original COVID virus is significant.”

Public Health is working with the Wastewater Treatment Plant to get an additional variant test sample this week to determine if those infected remain within the county or if the presence of the variant was due to March travel.

“Off-season is approaching, and with it, we expect a large migration from San Miguel County,” said Franklin. “Despite this new indication of variants, if residents and visitors continue their careful behavior and the region reaches off-season without additional spikes, vaccinations and warming weather will put us in a good place come summer.”

Variants of concern have been found to be highly contagious. As a result, attention to face coverings, physical distancing and limiting of group size must be strictly maintained. Additionally, residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of testing opportunities should any potential exposure situations or various symptoms arise.

For more information regarding the county’s COVID wastewater testing, visit the COVID dashboard.

Five Commitments of Containment:

• Wear a mask
• Maintain six feet of physical distance
• Minimize group size
• Wash hands frequently
• Stay home when sick and get tested

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