On Friday, Jan. 1, the county announced that two cases of the more contagious B117 strain of COVID-19 were found in Big Bear Valley.

The variant strain was first detected in London and southeast England. The county said the detection of the B117 strain is not unexpected since multiple variants of the virus have been documented in the United States. These cases were among results collected from members of one Big Bear Valley household on Dec. 20. One member of the household had contact with a traveler who returned from the United Kingdom on Dec. 11 and began showing symptoms on Dec. 14.

“Based on the information currently available, we know that the B117 variant strain seems to spread more easily and quickly,” said County Health Officer Michael Sequeira. “Therefore, following safe practices is more important than ever.”

According to the county, there is no evidence that the B1117 strain causes more severe illness and no indication that the vaccines are less effective on the strain.