Santa Clara County health officials Wednesday said two cases of a new South African COVID-19 variant have been identified in Santa Clara and Alameda counties — the first in California.

So far, one case has been identified in each county, respectively.

This is at least the second new strain health officials have identified in Santa Clara County: In January, Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody announced the discovery of a new strain, and indicated it played a significant role in several large, local outbreaks.

Cody said the new variant, B.1.351, was identified at a lab at Stanford University. A routine COVID-19 test doesn’t immediately indicate the variant of a positive test — it must be further studied through a process called genomic sequencing.

Only a

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