LOS ANGELES (AP) — The most common COVID-19 variant of concern circulating in Los Angeles County is now the U.K. variant, health officials said Saturday.
Previously, two California variants were dominant but in the past week 53% of 40 specimens analyzed by a public health laboratory were the U.K. variant and none were California variants, the county Department of Public Health said.
The county also detected six Brazil variants and one South African variant.
The department said the findings highlight the need for continuing precautions, especially by those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Recent research findings provide added evidence that the currently available vaccines appear to be highly effective against the variants of concern that are circulating here now,” the department said.
Once staggering under COVID-19, the county of 10 million residents on Saturday reported 14 new deaths and 265 new cases. There were 330 people hospitalized and 24% were in intensive care units. The daily test positivity rate was 0.4%.
Statewide, the California Department of Public Health reported a seven-day positivity rate of 0.9%. More than 36 million doses of vaccine have been administered and 16.5 million people are fully vaccinated.
California is planning to reopen on June 15, no longer requiring social distancing and allowing full capacity for businesses.