Written by Breanna Hardy
Tulare County has identified circulation of the U.K. and South African coronavirus variants. The county has confirmed two of the U.K. cases and one South African case.
The individuals were identified through surveillance testing, in which positive Covid-19 tests are sent to a lab to test whether the positive case is a variant.
This comes as Tulare County began offering all adults eligibility for the vaccine. While parts of the world and the United States are facing surges in cases, health officials ask the public to remain diligent at masking, hand washing and avoiding crowds when possible.
Both types of variants are 50% more contagious than the original strain. Health officials urge the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“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.”
Haught also said that Tulare County is prioritizing rural communities to be vaccinated by the end of May.
“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,” Haught said.