Santa Barbara County Public Health Department officials say they've been notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that two county residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have the B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the U.K. variant.
Health officials say these cases are unrelated and neither patient reported traveling abroad.
Both people reportedly completed their isolation period and are no longer infectious.
Officials say the state health department will continue investigating the case and complete contact tracing efforts.
County health officials say two other variants, B.1.429 and B.1.427, are prominent locally.
As of March 11, 2021, health officials say there were 265 known cases caused by variant B.1.1.7 in California. CDPH considers this variant to be of concern because it is thought to be more contagious and likely to cause greater illness or severe disease.
"The discovery of this concerning variant in our community serves as a reminder that we are still in a pandemic and things may shift quickly in the wrong direction if we let our guard down," said Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director. "It is critical that everyone continue wearing their masks, practicing social distance, and limiting gathering. If you have tested positive or have been exposed to a positive case, please adhere to isolation and quarantine guidelines."