The delta variant of the Coronavirus, called a “real threat” to those who have not been vaccinated, has been found in Fulton County.
The confirmation was not unexpected, said Kim Cupp, Fulton County Health Commissioner.
Cupp said Monday, Aug. 16, “The recent significant increase in new cases (in Fulton County) was assumed to be due to the delta variant.
“The recent lab tests confirmed that the delta variant is contributing to the increase in cases.”
In a Wednesday, Aug. 11 press release, the Fulton County Health Department announced the discovery, saying the delta variant was identified in lab test results received on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
The delta variant is now the dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in Ohio.
FCHD officials state in the release the delta variant “is more contagious than previous variants, and is spreading rapidly.”
In May, less than 1% of COVID-19 cases were associated with the variant.
Now, the variant is associated with 86% of Ohio cases.
The Yale Medicine website said the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes the delta variant as “more transmissible than the common cold and influenza, as well as the viruses that cause smallpox, MERS, SARS, and Ebola.”
Yale Medicine is the clinical practice of the Yale University School of Medicine.
The delta variant affects all ages, including people under the age of 50. Those who contract the variant are at double the risk of being hospitalized when compared to last winter’s dominant virus strain.
“The delta variant is a real threat to unvaccinated residents,” the release states.
“Data demonstrates that the vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death, and are effective against the delta variant.
“However, vaccines do not provide perfect 100% protection, and some vaccinated people can get the delta variant in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious.
“Vaccination is the best protection against the delta variant. High vaccination coverage will reduce spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging.”
The release states COVID- 19, the illness caused by the virus, is spreading at a high rate in Fulton County.
The county had the sixth-highest number of COVID- 19 cases on a per-capita basis (cases per 100,000 over a two-week period) in the state on Thursday, Aug. 5.
Information released by the CDC on Monday, Aug. 16, indicates the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Fulton County stands at 42.4% for those who have started the vaccination process, and 42.3% for those who have completed the process.
The federal Centers for Disease Control list Fulton County as being at a high risk of community transmission.
That rating is not expected to decline until the current surge in new COVID-19 cases declines.
“As the delta variant spreads, it is critical for Fulton County residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” the release said.
“We ask that individuals encourage their family members to take the opportunity to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated.”
Vaccines are available at the Fulton County Health Department Mondays from 10 am to 4 pm; walk-ins are welcome. Other locations can be found on the FCHD website or by calling 419- 337-0915.
FCHD urges all county residents to take steps now to prevent further spread.
•Wear a mask when indoors in public spaces.
•Stay home when ill.
•Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
•Wash hands often.
•Sanitize high-touch areas.
•Practice social distancing.– David Pugh