Wednesday, June 9, 2 p.m.

Klickitat County Health Department (KCHD) was notified today that the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 was identified in Klickitat County. COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 is also known as the United Kingdom variant. It is recognized by the CDC and Washington State Department of Health as a concerning variant because of the high rate of transmission.

Based on current published studies found on the CDC’s variant information website, B.1.1.7 has the potential to cause more severe symptoms and increase the risk of death in individuals who are infected. Thankfully, the current research supports that the vaccines available to the public are effective against preventing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations caused by variant strains of COVID-19.

This variant information was gathered through public health surveillance testing for variant strains not for the purposes of clinical or public health management of individuals. As a result, KCHD was not given any information that would allow them to identify the individual that the sample belonged to at this time. Although this is the first detected variant in Klickitat County, it is likely that other cases do exist in the community.

KCHD will continue to respond to COVID-19 with the current course of action. This includes encouraging community members to get vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Community members can schedule their vaccinations online through KCHD at https://us1.quickscreen.health/klickitat-county-vaccination#/screening or by calling Klickitat Valley Health, NorthShore Medical, or Skyline Health for a vaccine appointment. Residents without internet or computer access can still make appointments over the phone by calling the Health Department at (509) 773-4565 or (509) 493-1558. Individuals who are not vaccinated should still wear a mask and everyone should continue good hand washing.