First COVID-19 variant identified in North Idaho

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) notified Panhandle Health District (PHD) of the presence of one case of the COVID-19 B.1.427 (California variant), discovered through genome sequencing.

This and other variants have been identified in other areas of the state. With the emergence of these variants in North Idaho, it is imperative, now more than ever, to follow public health recommendations to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

These recommendations include:

  • Wearing a mask when in public
  • Washing your hands often and avoiding touching your face.
  • Staying home when sick except to seek medical attention.
  • Maintaining space between yourself and others not of the same household.
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Getting vaccinated.

The best results in reducing virus transmission come when all these strategies are done in conjunction with each other as no single intervention is perfect at reducing the spread of the virus.

“This reinforces the need for everyone in our community to remain diligent in following the precautionary measures to prevent further spread,” said Lora Whalen, PHD Director. “There remains much to be learned about the variants. With the vaccine being made widely available, we encourage those who wish to receive one to do so as soon as they are able to help reduce the spread.”

COVID-19 vaccines currently available should provide good protection against this strain. Schedule an appointment through the PHD website. PHD encourages everyone 16 and older to schedule their vaccine.

If you have questions about COVID-19 in our area, call PHD’s COVID-19 hotline, 1-877-415-5225, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.