As the number of people in the Bay Area diagnosed with the delta variant of COVID-19 increases, there is a new threat: delta plus variants. Cases have already been confirmed in the South Bay.
The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is now sequencing every COVID-19 case from every hospital in the county, meaning it's tracking down which variant of COVID-19 each case is. So far, officials have detected 16 cases of mutated delta variants known as delta plus.
"I think it’s a safe bet to assume that it is also more contagious, just like the delta variant is," Dr. George Han with the county health department said.
It's not known yet if the current vaccines offer protection against the delta plus variants.
Han said right now most people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county are unvaccinated.
"The delta variant has increased rapidly in Santa Clara County and in the Bay Area," Han said. "Delta is now the predominant variant in California and in the country. The same is true in Santa Clara County."
While Han said there have been breakthrough cases, he stressed that getting vaccinated will offer the best protection against extreme illness, even if people get the delta or delta plus variants.