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Wyoming confirms 4 COVID-19 variants found in state

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI)-The Wyoming Department of Health confirms four different COVID-19 variants have been found in Wyoming over the past several months.  The variants are recognized by national and international experts as “variants of concern.”

The Public Health Laboratory analyzed genetic sequencing for a large batch of positive samples collected from Wyoming residents since November.  The analysis showed at least 40 cases involved the United Kingdom variant (B.1.1.7), more than 40 cases combined of two California variants (B.1.427 and B.1.429) and one with the South Africa variant (B.1.351).  

“Because this is far from a comprehensive review of all positive patient samples, the true number and geographical spread of variants of concern in Wyoming is likely greater than what has been identified,” said state health officer and state epidemiologist Dr. Alexia Harrist. .

Harrist said the variants are “of concern” because they each have been shown to transmit more easily between people, may lead to more serious illnesses, or may have resistance to some COVID-19 treatment options.

But, she said that doesn’t change the Health Department’s primary recommendations.

“The best way for people to protect themselves from getting sick is to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which are available to the general public now throughout Wyoming,” she said. “We still also recommend staying home when you are sick, avoiding large gatherings and wearing masks in most public settings.”

The Health Department has shared updated information with healthcare providers across the state to help them with their patients.

You can learn more about Wyoming’s COVID-19 vaccine program here and more information about testing here.

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