DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – Three cases of the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant have been found in Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed the variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7., after if was first detected in the United Kingdom.

Of the three cases, two were detected in Johnson County in an adult between the ages of 18 to 40 and an middle-aged adult between the ages of 41 to 60. The third case was in and an adult individual in Bremer County.

The IDPH and local public health officials reached out to the individuals to understand their exposures and initiate the health monitoring process. Part of the process is to notify close contacts.

The State Hygienic Lab identified the cases as part of the CDC’s SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance Program.

The UK covid-19 variant oIS believed to spread more easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. Current COVID-19 vaccines are considered to be effective against the variant strain.

“Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic. Public health will continue to work with our partners at SHL to monitor these trends and it is very important that we all keep practicing good public health protective measures,” shared Dr. Caitlin Pedati, State Medical Director and Epidemiologist.

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
  • Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you