Tulare County Identifies Its First Three Cases of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 COVID-19 Variants
The Tulare County Public Health Branch is announcing the first three cases of these COVID-19 variants found in Tulare County. These individuals were identified through surveillance testing, and we are not able to disclose further information about the cases.
Tulare County Public Health Laboratory genomic sequencing results revealed the first two known cases of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) and the first known case of the South African variant (B.1.351). There is evidence that the U.K. variant may cause more severe disease, and both the U.K. and South African variants are estimated to be approximately 50% more infectious than other variants in circulation. Additional information about tracking variants in California can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-Variants.aspx. Information on the distribution of variants across the U.S. can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html.
It is imperative that individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must contact their health care provider to get tested and speak with representatives from Tulare County Public Health when contacted. They are here to help you and assist with slowing the spread of these infectious variants.
“Considering the national trend, we’ve been aware of the variants being present in our state as well as surrounding counties,” Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught said. “We need to continue the important safety measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear your mask or face covering securely, keep proper social distance, avoid crowds, especially indoors, wash your hands with soap and water, get tested, and get vaccinated.
“We have opened our vaccinations to those 16 and older, regardless of health conditions,” Dr. Haught continued. “We are also focused on getting our rural communities vaccinated by the end of next month. I urge our residents to remain vigilant so that we can maintain our path to reopening while preventing transmission of infections to vulnerable family members and friends.”
Initial studies suggest the three COVID vaccines in the United States provide strong protection.
Vaccination efforts continue throughout Tulare County. Officials strongly urge residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Visit the Tulare County COVID-19 Vaccine webpage at: https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/covid-19-vaccine/ for vaccination locations, including a full listing of health care providers and local pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccinations. The Tulare County Vaccine Call Center is also available to assist those without internet access and non-English–speaking residents in obtaining a vaccination; just call (559) 685-2260.