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COVID Surge: California Confirms Over 42,000 New Cases; CDC Warns Of UK Variant Growing In State

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- Health officials in Sacramento announced that California had confirmed 42,655 new COVID-19 cases as the CDC issued a dire warning about the more transmissible UK variant that has been detected in 32 cases in the state.

The number of new cases marked a 1.55% increase from totals reported Thursday. The state has reported a total of 2,859,624 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. 637 new deaths due to COVID were confirmed Friday, a 2% increase from the prior days total.

The 14-day average for test positivity in California is at 12.9%.

The latest numbers come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report regarding the potentially rapid spread of the so-called "SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.7" variant that initially surfaced in the United Kingdom.

CDC COVID variant graphic
CDC COVID variant graphic (CDC)

The summary of the report noted that the COVID variant "warrants universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies, including distancing and masking. Higher vaccination coverage might need to be achieved to protect the public."

So far, the CDC says that the variant has been found in ten states, with the most cases of the variant being discovered in California with 32 total cases.

"The modeled trajectory of this variant in the U.S. exhibits rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant variant in March," the new report said.

The CDC warned that the increased transmission from the variant "might threaten strained health care resources, require extended and more rigorous implementation of public health strategies, and increase the percentage of population immunity required for pandemic control."

While it's considered more infectious than the virus that's been causing the bulk of U.S. cases so far, there's no evidence that it causes more severe illness or is transmitted differently. So far, the COVID vaccines being used appear to be affective against the strain, health officials have said.

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