RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health announced that it has launched a COVID-19 Variants of Concern dashboard, in collaboration with the Department of General Services’ Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.
The departments said this dashboard includes variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, because they are an increased health risk. VDH said these variants may be spread easier, cause a more severe illness, be resistant to the COVID-19 vaccine, make treatments less effective and virus tests less accurate.
The VDH said while there is a smaller number of variants compared to the total COVID-19 cases reported, they estimate more cases of these variants are circulating state-wide than reported. As of this week, the department said about 1000 variants of concern have been reported.
They added the threat of these variants spreading makes it even more important to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines seriously, such as wearing a mask correctly over your mouth and nose, and getting vaccinated for the virus.
“Taking part in all of these public health recommendations for stopping the spread of COVID-19 will work for all COVID-19 variants,” the VDH said in its announcement. “The best way to stop variant strains from developing in the first place is to stop the spread of the virus.”
The dashboard will be updated once a week online here.