ECDOH: Another variant of concern detected in Erie County COVID-19 samples

Posted at 4:36 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 16:36:08-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) says another variant of concern has been detected in Erie County COVID-19 samples.

According to ECDOH, two COVID-19 samples from Erie County residents have been identified as containing the COVID-19 B.1.351 “South Africa” variant. The samples were collected in March 2021. Contact tracers were able to confirm one of the samples was from an individual who reported recent travel to Florida.

The B.1.427 and B.1.429 “California” variants of concern, the B.1.1.7 “United Kingdom” variant of concern, and the B.1.526 “New York” variant of concern were previously identified in Erie County samples.

“We can expect that genetic sequencing will identify more samples linked to variants of concern and variants of interest,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “The variants of concern found in Erie County are known to have increased transmissibility, meaning the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus is more easily spread between people. COVID-19 vaccination is a powerful, protective tool for any individual aged 16 and older.

"The more people who are vaccinated to protect against COVID-19, the lower the risk of COVID-19 variant strains spreading in our community. We know how to reduce the risk of infection: wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, stay home when sick. Adding vaccination as another layer of protection for our community brings us that much closer to putting this pandemic behind us.”