The University of California Genome Center announced the first recorded case of a new coronavirus variant in Yolo County.

“Research performed elsewhere has found that the B.1.351 variant is more contagious, with a 50 percent high transmission rate,” a press release by the researchers said.

New COVID-19 Variant

In a press release, Yolo County Public Health Officer Aimee Sisson said the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant was concerning due to its high transmissibility. She was also anxious about the vaccines’ apparent decreased efficiency against the new strain.

“Even if real-world studies eventually show that vaccines are effective against the B.1.351 variant, the majority of Yolo County residents are not yet fully vaccinated. Until most of the population has immunity, we need everyone to continue taking protective measures against coronavirus. Masking, distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and regular testing are as important as ever,” Sisson said.

The B.1.351 strain is the second variant that officials have discovered in the region. Earlier this year, the county reported the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, ABC10 reported.