The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been notified by San Diego County Public Health Services of a patient with the variant COVID-19 virus strain originally detected in the United Kingdom.

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This is the first identification of the United Kingdom variant strain, sometimes called strain B.1.1.7 or VOC 202012/01, in California. The affected individual has no known travel history. Information about possible sources of infection is still being collected.

Early data suggest that the United Kingdom variant strain may be more contagious but does not appear to be more severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 vaccines should provide immunity to this strain.

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“The detection of the first case of this United Kingdom variant strain in California is concerning,” said CHHS Secretary Mark Ghaly. “As we learn more about how this patient contracted this strain, I want to stress the importance of continuing our mitigation efforts to prevent COVID-19 and this new strain. This includes masks, physical distance, and during this current surge in California, staying at home and not mixing outside households, and not traveling.”

Two other cases have been reported in Colorado. It is likely that additional cases will be identified in the United States and in California.