A strain of COVID-19 that spreads faster and is more harmful has shown up in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The Alaska Department of Heath and Social Services has confirmed the presence of at least two cases of the COVID-19 Alpha variant in two villages in the region.
YKHC did not say when the testing was done, but the results came back positive from the state laboratory on June 3.
The Alpha strain is also known as the B.1.1.7 variant. It has also previously been referred to as the UK variant. The World Health Organization began calling the new variants by Greek letters last week. It said that it wants to avoid stigmatizing the nations where the strains were first detected. Currently, the WHO has named four main variants of concern. The Alpha variant in the Y-K Delta is one of those.
According to YKHC, the Alpha variant is both more aggressive and contagious than the previously circulating variant. It is already the dominant strain in the U.S., and YKHC expects it to become the dominant strain in the Y-K Delta.
YKHC said that 48% of the total population in the Y-K Delta has been vaccinated against COVID-19. It said that the vaccines it offers are all highly effective against the new strain. YKHC strongly urges everyone above the age of 12 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.