By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
San Diego, CA–A San Diego woman in her late 40s is the first local case of the COVID-19 variant first identified in Brazil, the County Health and Human Services Agency said Wednesday.
The woman’s sample was collected on March 5 and went through genome sequencing, which is not available until 2to 4 weeks after testing.
The woman had not been vaccinated, was not hospitalized and, since she had no known travel history, is believed to have been exposed to someone in the community. The case investigation identified six close contacts outside the woman’s household.
A second case of the P.1 or Brazilian variant was detected locally, but the person, who also had not been vaccinated, is not a San Diego county resident. Four cases of the P.1 coronavirus variant have been reported in California through March 19.
There is some evidence that the P.1 and other new variants are more easily spread, but the P.1 variant is not believed to cause more severe illness or increase the risk of death.
“San Diegans should not be alarmed. The COVID-19 vaccines currently available do offer some protection against most of the variants,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “People should continue taking the preventive measures that work against all variants of the novel coronavirus.”
Through March 23, a total of 336 cases of the B.1.1.7, known as the UK variant, had been identified in the region. No cases of the variant first identified in South Africa have been reported in the region.
A report on the COVID-19 variants is published every Wednesday at www.coronavirus-sd.com