Coronavirus variant found in Kern County, health officials say


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Public Health officials said a variant strain of the coronavirus has been detected in Kern County.

Officials identified the strain as the B.1.1.7. strain that was first detected in the United Kingdom and has since spread to over 200 countries. As of March 11, 265 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant have been detected in the state, health officials said.

In a statement Thursday evening, Kern Public Health said there is no indication current vaccines or antibody treatments are less effective against the B.1.1.7. strain but the effects of it may be more severe.

Officials stress, viruses constantly change through mutations creating new strains, or variants. Those variants will emerge and disappear, while others become common, they said.

“Variants become a concern, when they affect COVID-19 transmission, severity, testing, treatment or vaccine effectiveness,” officials said.

Meanwhile, health officials continue to urge residents to limit possible transmission of the coronavirus by getting vaccinated when eligible, wearing masks in public, keeping distance of at least 6 feet from others and hand washing.

We will update this story as we learn more information.

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