More contagious strain of COVID-19 now detected in King County

Jan 29, 2021, 6:32 PM
variant, Washington vaccine...
Health care workers wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the University Of Washington Medical Center on Dec. 15, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

The new COVID-19 variant strain that has been reported in many states, and in Washington, has now been detected in King County.

On Friday, UW Medicine notified Public Health — Seattle & King County that the B.1.1.7 strain of COVID-19 had been identified in a test sample originating in King County. The B.1.1.7 strain had been found in neighboring Snohomish and Pierce counties last week.

Seattle to join move to Phase 1, but ‘still cause for concern for our region’

This strain is known to spread more easily than others, and quickly became the dominant strain in the United Kingdom where it was first detected. It’s now predicted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it will be the dominant strain in the United States by March.

While this strain is more contagious, it spreads the same ways as other COVID-19 strains. As health officials have said, that means we just need to be better at countermeasures we know work to limit the spread of the virus, including wearing masking, physical distancing, ensuring good ventilation, and staying home whenever possible.

“This virus has been working out. It’s gotten faster and more fit. And we need to fight smarter and harder to beat it,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

“We should expect the variant strains to become widespread here, and that will make the outbreak harder for us to control,” Duchin added. “But we have the advantage of early warning to help us prepare.”

Faster spread means more people get infected, leading to more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and more deaths in a shorter period. There’s also concern that a rapid increase in cases could overwhelm the health care system. There is not yet conclusive evidence, however, that this variant causes more severe illness.

The vaccines developed are expected to still be highly effective against this new strain, but it’s still being closely monitored by the scientific community.

Vaccine appointment process a confusing, long headache for Washingtonians

“The appearance of the B117 variant in Washington is a wakeup call,” warns the Public Health Insider post about the variant’s arrival in King County. “It’s more important than ever to do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 – in our homes, workplaces, social lives and wherever we gather – and to push cases down as low as possible BEFORE the B117 strain can spread widely and gain an advantage. This means we need to meet this new challenge by going all in on the steps that we know work, starting now.”

Local News

recount olympia state capitol...
Logan Gilbert

The 47th District Senate race triggers recount with candidates separated by less than 100 votes

A mandatory recount is set to happen in the primary election in the 47th Legislative District of the Washington state Senate.
13 hours ago
Darren Dedo

The Crime Blotter: Woman sexually assaulted in West Seattle

Seattle Police detectives are investigating after a woman reported she was sexually assaulted Monday evening in West Seattle.
13 hours ago
(Washington State Patrol)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Police detain ‘obviously’ impaired driver after pursuit from Federal Way

Three lanes are blocked on I-5 northbound, just north of Michigan St., due to police activity with one arrest made so far, according to Washington State Patrol.
13 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle City Council loans $20 million to aquarium expansion project

The City Council has decided to loan $20 million to the Seattle Aquarium, after voting 7-2 in favor of the loan, which has fallen behind on construction for a new addition.
13 hours ago
FILE - A Seattle Police vehicle sits parked at Hing Hay Park on March 18, 2021, in Seattle. Seattle...
MyNorthwest Staff

SPD gets dollars for hiring bonuses, talent recruitment

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) will start offering signing bonuses to new and lateral hires in an attempt to onboard 500 more sworn officers by 2027.
13 hours ago
Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm dribbles the ball against the Minnesota Lynx in the third quarter...
Associated Press

Seattle starts playoffs against Washington

The Seattle Storm host the Washington Mystics in game one of the first round of the WNBA playoffs.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
More contagious strain of COVID-19 now detected in King County