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Another COVID-19 variant detected on the Navajo Nation

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FLENSBURG, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 22: A lab technician is working on smears for PCR tests for Covid-19 during the coronavirus pandemic on February 22, 2021 in the Labor Dr. Krause & Kollegen laboratory in Kiel, Germany. The B117 variant of the novel coronavirus is now accounting for the vast majority of new infections in Flensburg, leading city authorities to launch a nighttime curfew and sharpen other lockdown measures. Meanwhile Denmark has closed a number of its smaller border crossings to Germany in an effort to stem the spread of the B117 variant. (Photo by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (ABC4) – Another COVID-19 variant has been confirmed on the Navajo Nation.

Officials say the first confirmed case of the B.1.429 variant, first confirmed in California, comes from a test sample obtained in the Chinle Service Unit.

According to the CDC, the variant, sometimes referred to as B.1.427 or the “California variant,” is more transmissible. It is currently classified as a variant of concern.

This is the second COVID-19 variant of concern identified on the Navajo Nation. In late March, officials confirmed the first case of the B.1.1.7 variant, otherwise known as the U.K. variant.

The person who tested positive for the B.1.429 variant has recovered and contact tracing has been completed.

“Everyone should be informed about the two variants that have been identified here on the Navajo Nation,” says Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. “There is still much to be learned about the B.1.429 variant, commonly known as the California variant. At this point, the California variant has been detected in all of the states that surround the Navajo Nation.”

President Nez adds that the Navajo Department of Health is continuing to work with states and other partners to conduct surveillance and help identify if there are more variant cases. He encourages the community to continue wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings, practice social distancing, washing your hands, and getting tested if you experience symptoms.

In late March, officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 COVID-19 variant, the dominant strain in Brazil, had been detected in Utah. The Utah Department of Health confirmed the state’s first case of the B.1.1.7. variant in mid-January.

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