Press Release from Rock County Public Health Department
Rock County, WI – Rock County Public Health Department is reporting that the SARS-CoV-2 Variants P.1 and B.1.351 have been detected in Rock County. Variant P.1 was first discovered in travelers from Brazil in January of 2021 and Variant B.1.351 was discovered in South Africa in October 2020. Researchers have found these strains spread more rapidly and easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. The P.1 and B.1.351 variants also have a unique genetic mutation (E484K) that may affect the body's ability to recognize and fight off the virus. This means that antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection may not provide protection against infection from these variants. These variants could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (BAM infusions). At this time, it is not believed that P.1 and B1.351 are associated with more severe illness.
Three of the more contagious variants have now been detected in Rock County. The B.1.1.7 variant was previously detected. With these variants in our community, it is very important that everyone continue to follow the prevention guidance. Wear a mask in public places, keep your distance, wash your hands, minimize indoor activities with anyone outside of your household and get the vaccine when it is available to you.
You can learn more about the SARS-CoV-2 variants in Wisconsin by visiting https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/variants.htm#counter.