Today, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed one case of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 P.1 in Iowa. This variant is also referred to as the Brazilian variant. We are still learning about the characteristics of this strain including any potential impact on vaccine effectiveness.
The case was detected in Johnson County. IDPH and local public health have already initiated contact with the individual to understand exposures and initiate the health monitoring process. The process includes notifying anyone with whom the individual has been in close contact. As always, affected individuals are advised to isolate in accordance with IDPH and CDC guidance.
The case was identified by the State Hygienic Lab (SHL). SHL is doing sequencing to understand what strains are circulating here in Iowa and contribute to the understanding of COVID-19 activity in the United States. Routine analysis of genetic sequence data assisted in identifying the new variant strain in Iowa.
The emergence of new variants underscores that it remains critical for Iowans to continue the mitigation efforts that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Practice social distancing with those outside your household
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Get tested if you are exposed to, or have symptoms of COVID-19
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is offered to you
- If you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, review CDC guidelines here