STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. — The coronavirus variant first discovered in the United Kingdom has been found in Stanislaus County, public health officials said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this was the variant predicted to become the dominant strain in the United States by the end of March.
It was first reported in the US at the end of December 2020 in Colorado.
The first known case in Yolo County was detected by Health Davis Together and the UC Davis Genome Center in February.
“The detection of the B.1.1.7 variant in Stanislaus County is a sobering reminder that this pandemic is not over,” said Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, Stanislaus County Public Health officer said in a press release.
Here's what you need to know.
1. A variant of concern
B.1.1.7 is among three variants of concern being tracked by the California Department of Public Health. According to the CDC, the state has had 375 cases of the variant so far. Reported cases in the US total 4,686.
According to Stanislaus County Health Services spokesperson Kamlesh Kaur, this is the only variant and case that's been found in their county.
2. Vaccine efficacy against the variant
According to the CDC, the variant is known for being more infectious and cause more severe illness and death.
However, Stanislaus County Health Services said studies have suggested that the currently approved vaccines are effective in fighting the UK strain and some of the other variants.
3. What to do about it
Health officials in Stanislaus County said they don't have any information on when or where the test occurred. For now, the county is recommending that people get vaccinated, get tested, wear masks, and follow public health guidelines to prevent any variants from developing.
“The best way to prevent this variant from spreading, and prevent more variants from developing, is to stop the virus from circulating in the community. It is vital that everyone, even people that have been vaccinated, continue to follow recommendations that prevent the spread of disease, which include testing, masking, distancing, and getting the vaccine when it is your turn,” said Dr. Vaishampayan.