Additional COVID-19 variants detected in Erie County samples

Posted at 4:07 PM, Apr 01, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health says additional variants of COVID-19 have been detected in samples from Erie County residents.

The health department says the variants were found this week by the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

In the 138 samples provided, 42 included variants.

28 California variants were found with 27 of those samples having B.1.427; and one sample with B.1.429; the CDC says these variants show 20 percent increased transmission.

12 United Kingdom variants were found which according to the CDC shows 50 percent increased transmission and likely increased disease severity based on hospitalizations and case fatality rates.

The other two samples included B.1.526, which is a variant of interest originating in New York State, according to the Erie County Department of Health.

“These new data appear to confirm what we have suspected – that COVID-19 variants of concern with higher transmission rates are circulating in Erie County,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “We believe these variants are contributing to our increasing daily new case totals and the resulting rise in hospitalizations. Consequently, this is not the time to let down our guard against COVID-19. Mask up. Limit gathering sizes. Postpone travel. Stay home if you feel ill. And most importantly, get a diagnostic test if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or feel you have had an exposure.”