More cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant have been detected in Tulare County and confirmed by Tulare County Public Health. These cases were identified through genomic sequencing conducted by the Tulare County Public Health Laboratory.
The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant is significantly increasing throughout the state of California, and evidence shows the Delta variant is more than 50% more transmissible and may have moderately decreased response to antibody treatments against COVID-19 infection. The Delta variant now accounts for over 35% of the COVID samples sequenced across California, compared to only 5% of sequenced samples during the prior month. Additional information about tracking variants in California is provided by the California Department of Public Health and can be found online at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-Variants.aspx. Information on the distribution of variants across the U.S. can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html.
With the Delta variant being more contagious, it is very important for individuals who are not fully vaccinated to wear a face covering when indoors in public buildings or businesses, and when in outdoor crowds. Residents who are fully vaccinated and consider themselves at high risk for illness from COVID-19 should take precautions and consider wearing a face covering when in public settings. This would include individuals with immunosuppressing conditions that may impact the efficacy of vaccine response, such as a history of organ transplant, dialysis, or treatment with chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive medications. Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider to get tested and speak with representatives from Tulare County Public Health when contacted to help slow the spread of the very infectious COVID-19 variants.
“It is imperative for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible to decrease the spread of this highly infectious Delta variant and stall any potential for other COVID variants to mutate and develop,” said Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught. “We know the Delta variant is increasingly prevalent in other parts of California, and traveling outside the County may pose an increased risk of exposure. The use of face coverings is especially important to prevent infection.”
Initial studies suggest the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States provide strong protection against emerging variants. Officials strongly urge residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible. Visit the Tulare County COVID-19 Vaccine webpage at: https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/covid-19-vaccine/ for vaccination locations, including a full listing of health care providers and local pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccinations.
During the 4th of July holiday weekend, it remains extremely important that all residents continue to maintain safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, knowing the prevalence of the Delta variant has increased. Vaccinations are proven to be very effective; however, for those ineligible for vaccination because of age under 12 or medical contraindications, the practice of social distancing and use of face coverings are also very effective measures in slowing the spread. In addition, everyone is encouraged to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces, and stay home if you are sick or instructed to isolate/quarantine by a medical or public health professional.