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First case of COVID-19 'UK variant' detected in Sacramento area

The patient, who has so far only been identified as an adult, may have contracted the variant “through travel outside the community,” health officials said.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The first known case of the so-called UK variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the Sacramento area, according to Healthy Davis Together and the UC Davis Genome Center.

According to researchers, the UK variant virus is much more contagious than the original virus and is expected to become the dominant form of the bug in the country, “doubling in relative frequency approximately every 10 days.”

Studies have suggested, however, that the currently approved vaccines are still effective in fighting the UK strain and some of the other new variants.

The person who tested positive for the UK variant has been notified and is being isolated, UC Davis Health officials said in a press release on Monday. Contact tracing is underway to determine any possible community spread. The patient, who has so far only been identified as an adult, may have contracted the variant “through travel outside the community,” health officials said.

“Given that the [UK] variant has already been found in Southern California and the Bay Area, it is not surprising that it has now been detected in Yolo County,” said Dr. Aimee Sisson, Yolo County Public Health Officer.

This variant of the coronavirus was first detected in the United Kingdom in September 2020. It was first detected in the US (Colorado) in Dec. 2020 and cases have now been found in 33 US states. Health experts think it could have been spreading in the United States since November.

“Detecting this more infectious variant locally is a reminder that even though case rates are declining in Yolo County, we must maintain our vigilance and continue using protective measures against coronavirus… We cannot let down our guard,” Sisson said.

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