The B.1.1.7 variant also known as the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant has been found in Yakima. Yakima Health District officials say the district was informed on Wednesday that a Yakima County resident had tested positive for the variant. They say after an investigation the district determined the variant infection was locally acquired because the person had not traveled out of the area. A news release says the variant was originally detected in the United Kingdom and found in the United States in January of 2021. Dr. Larry Jecha, Interim Health Officer says “With another COVID-19 variant detected in Yakima County, we want to continue to emphasize the importance of following public health recommendations. These public health recommendations are crucial to slowing the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, if you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to schedule an appointment.”
He says the good news is that the current vaccines in the United States and in Yakima give good protection against this strain of COVID-19.

The health district says now "that these variants have been found, it is critical to follow the public health recommendations and preventative measures to protect the community against COVID-19.Because COVID-19 variants may spread more easily, it is vital that we all follow these guidelines:

Wear a well-made, well-fitting face mask, even with people you see regularly and in your smallest social circles.

•Keep gatherings outside whenever possible.
•Avoid any social gatherings indoors, but if participating, wear a mask and ensure windows and doors are open to maximize ventilation.
•Wear a mask while in the car with other people, including with family who do not live in your household.
•Wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, and carry hand sanitizer for use when water and soap are not available.
•Stay home if you are sick or if you have been exposed to COVID-19.
•Get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or were exposed to someone who tested positive.
•Get COVID-19 vaccine when you are eligible."