Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 Variants Continue to Climb in Santa Clara County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2021

Public health officials urge vigilance: avoid travel, quarantine if you must travel, and continue consistent use of face coverings 

Santa Clara County, CA  Public health officials in Santa Clara County are continuing to see increases in the number and proportion of confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants, signaling that the region’s progress in curbing the pandemic remains precarious. County residents are therefore urged to avoid travel, quarantine if travelling, and consistently use face coverings.

While only a small fraction of COVID-19 positive specimens undergo genomic sequencing, the proportion of cases that are linked to more transmissible variants is climbing and signals a worrying trend. 

“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,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the County of Santa Clara. “We’re already seeing surges in other parts of the country, likely driven by variants. Combined with the data we are seeing locally, these are important warning signs that we must continue to minimize the spread. We can still stop a surge from happening here if we hold onto our tried and true prevention measures for a little longer while we increase our vaccination rates.”

As of last week, every variant of concern has been detected in Santa Clara County, and all have either been shown or are presumed to be circulating in our community. In addition, the first two cases of the variants of interest detected in New York (one each of B.1.525 and B.1.526) have now been confirmed in Santa Clara County. As of March 27, there are 92 confirmed cases of B.1.1.7 (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/Brazil) and over 1,000 confirmed cases of B.1.427 and B.1.429 (first detected in California).

The increase in variants comes as the County of Santa Clara continues 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. As eligibility expands today to those age 50 and over – and on April 15 to those age 16 and over –more doses are needed to vaccinate those waiting in line, particularly community members who are most impacted by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, everyone should continue prevention measures that have already proven highly protective against COVID-19. All travel is strongly discouraged, and if anyone is travelling, they are urged to quarantine upon return.  Community members should continue to wear a mask, maintain physical distance, keep activities outdoors instead of indoors, and get vaccinated when it’s their turn. County health officials remind 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.

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