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San Diego officials keeping close eye on Delta variant as cases spike in Los Angeles

Board Chair Nathan Fletcher said there are no current plans to change mask guidance, similar to what's happening in LA.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego leaders announced Tuesday they're keeping a close watch on the COVID-19 Delta variant as it continues to spread in neighboring Los Angeles and around the world.

This comes as officials in L.A. just recommended people go back to wearing masks indoors, regardless of whether they're vaccinated or not.

Dr. Davey Smith, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego, tells News 8, "We're doing a little better than L.A. in terms of the number of cases and the number of cases of Delta variant, but it's coming. Just like it did last time with the virus in general when L.A. was having a problem and then it spilled over."

The CDC now estimates the highly contagious Delta variant has gone from 2% of new cases to 20% in just the past month.

In Los Angeles, the latest available numbers show 123 confirmed Delta variant cases.

In San Diego, News 8 has confirmed, there have been 18 Delta variant cases.

In a statement, Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said:

"We continue to monitor the situation with Covid -19 and in particular the delta variant and want to emphasize the single best action you can take to protect yourself and your family is to be fully vaccinated. Almost 95% of our delta variant cases are from those not fully vaccinated. We will continue to align our public health guidance with CDC and CDPH and do not anticipate any changes."

While Dr. Smith isn't convinced we won't go back to mask-wearing, like Fletcher, he said getting vaccinated is the best tool we have to protect against the Delta variant and future strains.

“The more people who are vaccinated, the less time the virus has to learn and evolve into the next variant," Smith said.

Meanwhile, outside the U.S., places like Australia have implemented new lockdowns due to the Delta variant.

In the UK, it has driven new COVID cases to 20,000 a day.

And in other places where vaccination rates are much lower like Russia and Indonesia, the new strain is blamed for overwhelming hospitals, and filling cemeteries.

“An infectious disease can get on a plane and be anywhere in the world within a day so the best we can do to keep this disease at bay and specifically COVID-19 is to get the vaccine out across the world,” said Dr. Smith.

Some studies have shown the Delta variant can result in more severe cases.

The World Health Organization recently said because of this variant, vaccinated people should continue to wear masks even in public.

WATCH RELATED: 3 post-vaccination COVID-19 deaths confirmed in San Diego County