HOUSTON - Health officials say three cases of the B.1.429 coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Harris County.
Harris County Public Health says the three individuals with the variant, also known as the California strain, are no longer in isolation or contagious.
HCPH is in the process of investigating the cases and conducting contact tracing.
Officials say 28 COVID-19 cases with variant strains have been confirmed in Harris County to date. This includes the three with the California strain and 25 previous cases with the B.1.1.7 UK variant.
Harris County confirmed the first-known case in Texas of the UK variant in January.
According to HCPH, both variants are believed to be associated with increased transmissibility.
Early studies found no evidence to suggest that the UK variant has impact on vaccine efficacy, HCPH says, but the impact on vaccine by the California strain is to be further studied.
"Mutations of a virus are expected, and we are closely monitoring emerging COVID-19 variants", said Dr. Sherri Onyiego, local health authority. "We must continue to practice prevention measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones by avoiding crowds, wearing facemasks, social distancing, washing hands frequently and getting a vaccine as soon as it becomes available. We all want this pandemic to be over, and that cannot happen unless we all do our part. If we let our guard down, we may cause cases and hospitalizations to spike again."
The positivity rate in the county is 13.3%. There are more than 355,000 confirmed cases in Harris County and 3,323 COVID-19 related deaths.
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To get tested, visit https://covidcheck.hctx.net/