State confirms Brazilian COVID-19 strain in Johnson County

Drawing of coronavirus cells. (Image via National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)

Iowa confirmed its first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant on Thursday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported.

“We are still learning about the characteristics of this strain including any potential impact on vaccine effectiveness,” the department said in a statement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the current vaccines should work on all variants of the coronavirus. 

The case involved a Johnson County resident. The state is contacting the patient and those who have been in contact with the person. All will be told they should quarantine.

The state is doing regular genetic sequencing to follow variants of the virus. On Wednesday, IDPH Director Kelly Garcia said officials consider the United Kingdom variant the predominant strain affecting Iowa now. 

In general COVID-19 news, Iowa’s per capita COVID-19 infection rate has dropped by 9% in the past week while the U.S. rate increased by about the same percentage, the Washington Post reported. 

Iowa ranked 21st among the states in per capita infection rate, the Post reported

While the national test positivity rate was at 5.9% over the past seven days, Iowa’s rate was 6.5%, the Post reported. 

The newspaper’s database showed a 76.9% drop in the number of COVID-related deaths in Iowa over the past week. 

By the Post’s count, 26.6% of Iowans have completed their COVID vaccinations.

The New York Times reported that 39% of Iowans have received at least one dose of vaccine.

The Times reported that 510 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths were recorded Wednesday.

Since the pandemic started, the state has confirmed 387,888 cases and 5,870 deaths, the health department reported.