New Variant of SARS-CoV-2 Detected in Monterey County butterfly

Published: Jan 19, 2021

On January 18, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that a 452R variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been identified using genetic sequencing in multiple counties across the state, including in Monterey County. The 452R variant has previously been detected in other countries and states, including California, and is now increasingly being found in multiple counties throughout California including Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Clara Counties.  The 452R variant was first identified last year in other countries and states, including California. This variant is different than the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom. As the number of specimens tested to monitor for variant strains has increased at California labs, the 452R variant has been identified more frequently since November.

“The clinical and epidemiological significance of this strain is not known and is being investigated,” states Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer and Director of Public Health. “Also concerning is that this case represents the first local evidence of infection, recovery, and repeat infection.” The California Department of Public Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local public health departments, and laboratory partners to learn more about the variant, including how it spreads and any potential impact on vaccine efficacy.

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Due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, regardless of circulating variants, the Monterey County Health Department asks all Monterey County residents to keep taking steps that will limit transmission of the virus and reduce strain on our health care systems. This includes:

  • Staying home except for essential activities
  • Wearing a mask when leaving home
  • Limiting interactions with people outside your immediate household
  • Keeping physical distance of at least 6 feet apart
  • Washing hand for 20 seconds
  • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible and when vaccine is available

For more information about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination, please visit or call the COVID-19 Call Center at 831-769-8700 Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

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