SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — County public health officials say they have recorded 24 confirmed and four probable cases of the United Kingdom coronavirus variant locally.
The new cases bring the county's total to 32. Cases include patients in San Diego, Chula Vista, La Mesa, and Lakeside and are among multiple age groups — the four youngest cases under 10 and the oldest over 70. The cases include 16 men and 16 women.
The two dozen new variant cases were confirmed on Monday from samples collected between Dec. 27 through Dec. 31, the county said. The new patients are believed to have no travel history and come from 19 different households.
County officials say no deaths have been connected to any of the cases, but one woman had to be hospitalized. She is now at home recovering.
The UK strain of COVID-19, known as B.1.1.7, is not any more dangerous than the virus but experts say it appears to be more contagious.
"The fact that these cases have been identified in multiple parts of the region shows that this strain of the virus could be rapidly spreading," said Wilma Wooten, County public health officer. "People should be extra cautions to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19, especially this variant, which research has shown is more contagious.
“We are doing everything we can to determine how fast this new strain is spreading, especially since the region’s daily case count has dramatically increased in recent weeks."
Experts say current COVID-19 vaccines being distributed will protect against the UK strain of the virus, but that the public should continue to practice health measures such as good hand hygiene, mask wearing, and physical distancing.