On Friday, February 19, 2021, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren announced the COVID-19 outbreak at Ukiah’s Mountain View Assisted Living and Memory Care “piqued” his interest after the infection seemed to spread easily suggesting to him the virus “could be a variant.”
The Mountain View Assisted Living outbreak has affected 23 residents and 7 staff members, Dr. Coren reported. He added that two residents were hospitalized and one death resulted from the outbreak.
Dr. Coren said the COVID-19 strain responsible for the Mountain View Assisted Living outbreak “piqued” his interest because the majority of residents and staff had already undergone the first round of vaccinations. Dr. Coren added that even though residents had the first round of vaccination, “They were definitely in a category that is susceptible to infection….The infection spread so easily and so well, I’m concerned there could be a variant that could be more transmissible or less susceptible to the vaccination.”
In hope of monitoring the genetic variance of the COVID-19 virus, Dr. Coren said the State of California is selecting a specific percentage of COVID-19 samples that come into the Valencia Testing laboratory to analyze. As Dr. Coren understands it, “There are tens of thousands backed up.” In partnership with a county laboratory that is developing the ability to conduct whole genome sequencing, Dr. Coren said Mendocino County is “considering doing a percentage of our population with genomic sequencing.”
If there is a variant found, it wouldn’t be the only one found on the North Coast. Humboldt County’s Joint Information Center announced on Wednesday, February 17, a COVID-19 variant emerged from a single outbreak at the Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness facility. According to a press release, testing indicated that 16 samples that emerged from Granada were a COVID-19 variant with a mutation that “makes the virus “sticky” or easier for the virus to attach to a cell’s receptors, which could result in a higher rate of transmission.”
Dr. Coren said that Mendocino County’s other outbreaks were “resolved” including those in Round Valley and Fort Bragg.
Dr. Coren reported the Mendocino County Jail outbreak was under control. Two recently admitted inmates did test positive for COVID-19 but those cases are not associated with the earlier outbreak. That outbreak resulted in a total of 147 cases of which 130 were inmates and 17 were staff.