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B.1.1.7 Variant Detected in San Luis Obispo County

B.1.1.7 Variant Detected in San Luis Obispo County

B.1.1.7 Variant Detected in San Luis Obispo County

San Luis Obispo, CA — Yesterday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) notified the County of San Luis Obispo Health Agency that a county resident tested positive for the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, also known as the UK variant.

This individual has completed their isolation period and is no longer infectious. County officials are investigating this case further, and no other cases of this variant have been identified in SLO County.

“We are so close to ending this pandemic and we can get there with your help,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “Continue to wear your mask in public, stay physically distanced from those who don’t live with you, get tested for COVID-19 and get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you are eligible. These actions will continue to protect you from spreading the variants.” 

To date, just over 100,000 people in SLO County have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and the risk of spread remains substantial here, keeping SLO County in the Red Tier of the State’s Reopening Plan. County health officials say that as the community works to end the pandemic, it is important to prevent the spread of these variants by following health guidance like mask wearing and physical distancing. If you think you may have been exposed to a positive case or have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested for COVID-19. If you are eligible for a vaccine, get vaccinated as soon as possible.   

At this time vaccines in use in the U.S. appear to remain effective against severe impacts of COVID-19, even against these variants.  As more cases of the variant appear, additional information is being gathered. The CDC considers a variant “of concern” when there is evidence that it spreads more easily, causes more severe disease, and leads to increased hospitalizations and deaths. On February 25, CDPH issued a Health Alert warning of increased identification of COVID-19 virus variants across the state, nation, and globe. It identified “variants of concern,” including B.1.1.7, B.1.135, and P.1.

On March 17, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention further escalated the variants B.1.429 and B.1.427 from “variants of interest” to “variants of concern,” and both are prominent statewide. More than seven of these variant cases were identified in SLO County weeks ago, before these variants were classified as variants of concern.

“Our community can make it through this pandemic,” said Dr. Borenstein. “It’s going to take the collective efforts of our central coast community to stop these variants from spreading. Mask up, keep your distance, get tested if you’ve been exposed, and get the vaccine when it’s your turn.”

For information on COVID-19 testing in SLO County, visit For more information on COVID-19 vaccine, visit

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