As Tehama County remains in the state's COVID-19 red tier with 57 confirmed deaths, the county's Health Services Agency has received notice that a COVID-19 test specimen within Tehama County was determined to be the B.1.1.7 variant, announced the agency on Friday, April 23.

The B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 was first detected in the United Kingdom. It is designated as a variant of concern because it is approximately 50 percent more transmissible than the original virus, and may cause more severe disease, based on the number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with this variant.

“This is a reminder that every time an individual gets sick with COVID-19 it is an opportunity for the virus to mutate while it replicates within the body,” stated the agency in a press release. “Everyone who receives a positive laboratory test indicating they have COVID-19 should maintain isolation precautions, limiting contact with others in their household and in the community to reduce the spread of the virus.”

For more information about B.1.1.7 and other COVID-19 variants, visit the CDC website.

The currently available vaccines are found to be effective against the B.1.1.7 variant which is why vaccination is one of the most important steps to prevent infection and end the pandemic, reports the agency.

Each person that gets vaccinated brings the community closer to a post-pandemic world.

In an effort to encourage residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the agency shares the following information concerning the vaccine:

Protect residents from a deadly disease. Although the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t prevent recipients from getting COVID-19, chances of being hospitalized with COVID-19 become almost zero. Current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States should also work against the new COVID-19 variants.

Get residents to community-wide protection (sometimes called herd immunity) much more quickly, saving millions of lives. When enough individuals become vaccinated, it makes it harder for the disease to spread and adds up to protection for everyone.

Help COVID-19 cases drop in the community and allow schools to stay open and businesses to continue to safely reopen.

Two weeks after individuals have received their full COVID-19 vaccination series they will no longer need to quarantine if they are exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19, which saves them from having to take time off work or school.

The agency states, COVID-19 vaccines have gone through extensive clinical trials for efficacy and the most intensive safety review in U.S. history. Technological advancements in science and an unprecedented amount of resources made the development of vaccines in under a year possible. These vaccines were built on years of research, no safety step was skipped. Before release, they were tested in tens of thousands of participants of different ages, races, genders, and ethnicities and most people reported no side effects, or only mild ones. Currently over 209 million people in the United States have been safely vaccinated against COVID-19.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

Sign-up online at https://myturn.ca.gov/ or call (833) 422-4255 to schedule a COVID-19 appointment. The agency's vaccine clinic at the Red Bluff Community Center is now open for walk-ins as well. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are the only vaccines being administered at our vaccination clinics currently.

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