COVID-19 Variant Reported in U.K., CDPH Issues Health Alert

Reports recently emerged about a new variant of the COVID-19 virus spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom. According to the U.K. government, the new virus variant appears to transmit more easily than the previous COVID-19 strain, but no evidence exists indicating the new variant causes more severe disease or mortality.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that new virus variant detected in the U.K. and other parts of the country have not been identified in the U.S. at this time. However, epidemiological surveillance is ongoing at federal and state levels.

In light of the new virus variant, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Tuesday issued a health alert to clinicians statewide requesting health care providers to collect specimens from specified patients for genetic sequencing to monitor for the COVID-19 variant and other variant virus strains.

Additional information on the virus variant is anticipated over the coming days and weeks.