COVID-19 variant found in California accounting for more than half of Hawaii cases, DOH says

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A coronavirus variant identified in California is accounting for 59% of cases in Hawaii, the Hawaii State Health Department announced on Friday, April 9.

The B.1.429 “California” variant is the most dominant of the three variants circulating the islands.

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The California variant is about 20% more contagious and is the cause for the recent uptick in cases on Maui. It is now accounting for 82% of the cases there as of March 2021.

Health officials say it is a race to get shots in arms.

“If you had the vaccine and if you get infected with one of those strains the South African or California, you will not go to the hospital and you will not die,” Hawaii State Laboratories Division Administrator Dr. Edward Desmond told KHON last month. “So the virus will not cause serious illness in those people.”

There is also a new “double mutant” variant that was recently discovered in the San Francisco Bay area. It is believed to have originated in India, according to scientists at Stanford Health. 

It is not known if this new variant is more infectious or resistant to vaccine antibodies, but studies are underway. It has not yet been found in Hawaii.

“We’re not worrying ourselves seriously about it yet,” Dr. Desmond said on Friday.

“But I guess the ominous news is that shortly after it was reported in India, it was also reported in California, and I guess we’ve seen that what happens in California, comes fairly quickly here, like the California variant,” he continued.

Courtesy: Hawaii State Department of Health

Summary of variants in Hawaii in March 2021

  • 59% of specimens which were B.1.429 “California” variant
  • 8% of specimens which were UK B.1.1.7 variant
  • 2% of specimens which were B.1.351 “South African” variant

Summary of variants in Oahu in March 2021

  • 59% of specimens which were B.1.429 “California” variant
  • 8% of specimens which were UK B.1.1.7 variant
  • 3% of specimens which were B.1.351 “South African” variant

Summary of variants in Maui County in March 2021

  • 82% of specimens which were B.1.429 “California” variant
  • 3% of specimens which were UK B.1.1.7 variant
  • 0% of specimens which were B.1.351 “South African” variant

Summary of variants in Hawaii County in March 2021

  • 19% of specimens which were B.1.429 “California” variant
  • 16% of specimens which were UK B.1.1.7 variant
  • 0% of specimens which were B.1.351 “South African” variant

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