Newer coronavirus subvariants ticking up in California amid concerns of winter wave
SACRAMENTO — As the state grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, health officials are warning it might produce what they call the latest variant of Covid-19, dubbed SARS-CoV-2.
Two of the new strains were found early on in the epidemic in Washington state and in neighboring Oregon, according to public health officials.
The discovery in Washington came from a man who contracted the illness in January in the northern part of the state and became one of the first to test positive for Covid-19 in the United States. He has since tested negative for the virus, but authorities are investigating whether he was a health care worker or a traveler.
In February, an infected man who tested positive in Washington State became one of the first men to be diagnosed in the United States with the virus that causes the illness. His testing occurred two weeks after he was already hospitalized in Portland.
On March 4, Oregon’s state health department announced that the man, who was in his 40s, had been hospitalized with the virus and was now quarantined at home until results of his coronavirus test came back.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a public health alert saying the virus was similar to the one that has killed 50 people in Wuhan, China, since December. The first cases of the new strain were also reported Monday in Washington and Oregon.
And then there’s the case of an 80-year-old woman who died of the virus in Seattle. After first testing positive for the virus in a man who had traveled to China, the woman had flown to South Korea and returned to Seattle, where she went to an outpatient clinic and tested positive for the coronavirus. She died about a week later.
The woman likely had the same type of coronavirus as the woman in Oregon, who passed away in her home last week, said Dr. Nirav Shah, chief medical officer of public health for King County.
“What we know now is that those two cases were similar,” Shah said. “So, we don’t know if she was the first person with Covid-19. But we know that she came from