The Bond County Health Department has received results from two separate COVID-19 positive individuals, indicating the presence of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom. Upon learning this new information, Health Department Administrator, Sean Eifert, stated “Now that we know for certain this variant exists within our community, it is as important as ever to focus on getting unvaccinated people vaccinated. The vaccines we have at our disposal are effective against this variant. The only way to slow or stop mutations is to vaccinate a very high percentage of the population”.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, this variant has a 50% increased rate of transmission, as well as potential increased severity based on hospitalizations and case fatality rates.
Phase 5 guidance still advises that unvaccinated individuals mask indoors and socially distance. The Bond County Health Department encourages persons to follow this guidance. The department again encourages those who have not received the vaccine to consider doing so before school begins in the fall, to protect younger persons who cannot get the vaccine, from the new variant.