Monday morning, St. Joseph Co. health officials announced another new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the county.
Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the "California" variant is less contagious than the U.K. variant, which was identified in the county earlier this month. But, he said it’s still about 20 percent more contagious than the original strain, and it doesn’t seem to be as sensitive to the current vaccines.
Fox said that shouldn't stop people from getting their shots. He said they’ll still provide some protection, and will ultimately keep new variants from emerging.
“Even though this variant may not be as responsive to the vaccines, they will help decrease the conditions that allow different variants to flourish,” Fox said.
Fox said if community members want to stop the spread of more contagious variants, all they have to do is carefully follow the mitigation strategies – wearing a mask, washing their hands, and keeping their distance from anyone outside their household.