COVID-19 Variant Updates
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department is urging Ohio Valley residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as highly transmissible virus variants continue to spread throughout the country and state.
COVID-19 vaccination clinics continue daily at the county health department offering Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines. Walk-ins are welcomed.
The most common COVID-19 variant in West Virginia is the B.1.1.7 “United Kingdom” variant, accounting for more than 2,200 cases statewide and 82 cases in Ohio County. More information on COVID-19 variants in WV can be found at https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx.
Of concern nationally and statewide is the Delta variant, B.1.6172.2, which was recently declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC.
The department is monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and several variant strains. Currently there are six notable variants in the United States:
- B.1.1.7 (Alpha): This variant was first detected in the United States in December 2020. It was initially detected in the United Kingdom.
- B.1.351 (Beta): This variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January 2021. It was initially detected in South Africa in December 2020.
- P.1 (Gamma): This variant was first detected in the United States in January 2021. P.1 was initially identified in travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan, in early January.
- B.1.427 and B.1.429 (Epsilon): These two variants were first identified in California in February 2021.
- B.1.617.2 (Delta): This variant was first detected in the United States in March 2021. It was initially identified in India in December 2020.
These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
So far, studies suggest that the current authorized vaccines work on the circulating variants. Scientists will continue to study these and other variants.