Nurse Elizabeth Vadnais administers the COVID-19 vaccine to fellow nurse Ashlynn Strode of Providence Southwest Washington.

Nurse Elizabeth Vadnais administers the COVID-19 vaccine to fellow nurse Ashlynn Strode of Providence Southwest Washington.

Courtesy Providence SW Washington

The Oregon Health Authority is investigating the source of a second case of COVID-19 involving the U.K. variant.

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The variant is considered more contagious than the strain that’s been circulating in Oregon up to now, and the infected individual from Yamhill County has no known history of travel.

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Routine screening of staff at the University of Portland found Oregon’s first case of the UK variant on Jan. 11th. That staff member had no symptoms and has been quarantined along with those who came into close contact.

On Friday the chief scientific advisor for Britain said the UK variant appears to be between 30% and 70% more transmissible than the original coronavirus strain. He also said it may carry a higher risk of death, but that evidence is not strong.

In a new report, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found about a dozen mutations in the virus so far. That same report also said the UK variant may have started spreading back in September but was not detected until December.

The OHA is reporting 775 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 and 13 new deaths. So far, 1,877 Oregonians have died from the virus.

The OHA also said 285,914 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Oregon.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the OHA recommends staying six feet away from other people, wearing a mask outside the house, practicing good hygiene, avoiding crowds and consulting a medical provider when exhibiting symptoms.

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