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CA COVID-19 cases continue to rise as San Diego man tests positive for new strain

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KRON) – California is reporting its first case of the variant COVID-19 virus strain. 

A San Diego man tested positive for the strain, that was first identified in the United Kingdom.

Health experts say it was only a matter of time before it reached California, but now there’s a new effort to slow down the spread as California saw another day of record cases. 

It’s not good news for doctors who worry that without enough vaccine to protect Americans against it, there could be a set up for more COVID-cases. 

A San Diego man in his 30s is now the first person in California to test positive for the COVID variant strain.

On Wednesday, San Diego County officials said the man, first began showing symptoms of the strain on Tuesday. 

Scientists in the United Kingdom first discovered the strain now known as B117. 

Health leaders say the virus is believed to be more contagious and spread more easily. 

“The early data suggests, yes that the current vaccines that we have available from Pfizer and Moderna should be effective against these particular strains,” Dr. Grace Lee said. 

Dr. Grace Lee with Stanford Health says vaccines are proving effective against it but she says doctors are still concerned. 

“I think the concern is that if it is more transmissible even though our same protective measures will be effective, just that we won’t be able to get vaccine out enough into the population as quickly as we would like,” Dr. Lee said. 

Lee says until there is enough vaccine available, people should still continue to practice social distancing, hand washing, and wearing face masks.

“We don’t believe at this point that it changes about the severity of the disease or mortality rates, but obviously we want to avoid infections as much as possible,” Dr. Lee said.  

The discovery comes as California continues to shatter daily records for COVID cases. 

On Wednesday more than 34,000 new cases were reported. 

The rise in cases and hospitalizations are causing ICU beds to drop. The Bay Area is now at 7.5 percent. 

At the current rate, she says hospitals across the Bay Area could be forced tough decisions, on who lives, and who dies. 

“We’re all preparing for what we’re calling Crisis Standards of Care to be able to make those tough decisions. Our hope is that again, we can encourage the public and the community to continue to adhere to the protective measures that need to be put into place,” Dr. Lee said. 

The man who contracted the strain is currently quarantining at home. 

Officials say the man didn’t travel which Dr. Lee says likely means the man contracted the virus in the community, which likely means, more cases will begin to pop up soon.

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