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Although the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on major metropolitan areas is broadly reported and readily available, regions with lower populations and more remote areas in the United States are understudied. The objective of this study is to determine the progression of SARS-CoV-2 sequence variants in a frontier and remote intermountain west state among university-associated communities. This study was conducted at two intermountain west universities from 2020 to 2022. Positive SARS-CoV-2 samples were confirmed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and variants were identified by the next-generation sequencing of viral genomes. Positive results were obtained for 5355 samples, representing a positivity rate of 3.5% overall. The median age was 22 years. Viral genomic sequence data were analyzed for 1717 samples and phylogeny was presented. Associations between viral variants, age, sex, and reported symptoms among 1522 samples indicated a significant association between age and the Delta variant (B 1.167.2), consistent with the findings for other regions. An outbreak event of AY122 was detected August–October 2021. A 2-month delay was observed with respect to the timing of the first documented viral infection within this region compared to major metropolitan regions of the US.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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