Every variant 'of concern' now detected in Santa Clara County

Every variant of concern has been detected in Santa Clara County, and all have either been shown or are believed to be circulating in the community, public health officials announced on Thursday. 

Specifically, the first two cases of the variants detected in New York -- one each of B.1.525 and B.1.52 -- have now been confirmed in Santa Clara County.

At of the end of March, public health officials said there were 92 confirmed cases of B.1.1.7, the variant first detected in the United Kingdom; three confirmed cases of B.1.351 first detected in South Africa; one case of P.1 first detected in Japan and Brazil; and more than 1,000 confirmed cases of B.1.427 and B.1.429 first detected in California.

"Genomic sequencing is allowing us to confirm what we already presumed based on national trends, which is the presence and unfortunate increase of variants in our community," Santa Clara County Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody said. "We’re already seeing surges in other parts of the country, likely driven by variants."

Because of this, Cody said that people must continue to minimize the spread of the disease by avoiding travel and consistently use face coverings. She said things will get better as more people get vaccinated. 

The increase in variants comes as Santa Clara County, and other areas, continue to face inadequate vaccine supply.

The number of allocated doses has remained flat over the past several weeks, with this week’s allocation allowing for roughly 35,000 first dose appointments, health officials said. 

As eligibility expands, Cody said more doses are needed to vaccinate those waiting in line, particularly community members who are most impacted by the pandemic.

County health officials also reminded the public that although most activities are now allowed, many are high-risk and not recommended, and it remains critical for the community to minimize exposure.