Community Data Dashboard Populated with New Data

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) - The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has partnered closely with Cottage Health and UC Santa Barbara as they have continued a research project to better understand what variants are circulating in our county. In addition to these local efforts, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have an ongoing surveillance effort to monitor variants statewide and nationwide. Through the work of these surveillance and research projects, local data has been collected to determine which variants are present in our community, including any variants of concern or variants of interest as labeled by the CDC.

Previously the variant section of the Dashboard exclusively presented results from the research project with UC Santa Barbara and Cottage Health. This section now includes routine surveillance for variants conducted by CDPH and CDC in addition to the ongoing Cottage/UC Santa Barbara project. The new data has a larger sample size and is more representative of the entire county.

A total of 858 samples were identified as COVID-19 variants by the different variant surveillance projects. These samples were collected from patients between March 2020 through May 2021.

Analysis of the available variant data revealed the following:

  • 2% of samples (n=12) were identified as the P.1 variant, originally detected in Japan and Brazil and classified as a variant of concern. Statewide approximately 3% of variants identified are P.1.
  • No samples of B.1.351, originally detected in South Africa and classified as a variant of concern, were found.
  • Less than 1% of samples (n=2) were B.1.617/ B.1.617.1/ B.1.617.2/ B.1.617.3, originally detected in India and classified as a variant of interest. These samples were tested due to clinical concerns after travel from India.
  • 55% of samples (n=471) were identified as B.1.427/B.1.429, also known as U.S. West Coast Variants.

“Identifying the variants that have circulated in our community reminds us how imperative it is to use all the tools at our disposal to prevent their continued spread, including getting vaccinated,” shared Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. “The COVID-19 vaccines we have available are safe and effective against variants of concern. If you choose a vaccine that requires two doses, I urge you to complete the full vaccine series and get both doses because only the completed vaccine series will provide full protection against these variants.”

Available data from all variant surveillance efforts can be found under the “Variant Surveillance” tab on the Santa Barbara County Community Data Dashboard

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