On Wednesday, July 21, Public Health Solutions released a statement announcing that at least eight individuals have tested positive for the delta variant of COVID-19 in three of the five counties in their district.
PHS currently serves Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline and Thayer counties.
“This comes as no surprise, as the delta variant is the most predominant strain circulating in our state right now. This variant sweeps through a community like wildfire to dry kindling. It is highly transmittable, and it appears that it can cause more severe illness than previous variants identified,” Kim Showalter, PHS’ Health Director, said.
The statement noted that currently, 22,476 people, or 41.8% of all individuals living in the PHS district are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
“PHS continues to urge eligible residents in the district to become vaccinated,” the statement said. “This is the best protection against becoming severely ill if exposed to COVID-19. To find a vaccination sire near you, please call PHS at 402-826-3880.”
According to the CDC website, the delta variant was identified in India in late 2020, and has subsequently been detected in approximately 60 countries.
In May, a cluster of cases was identified in central Oklahoma, and were associated with a local gymnastics facility. The Oklahoma State Department of Health, Acute Disease Service, and local health department staff interviewed the variant-positive individuals and conducted contact tracing, and found 47 cases associated with the outbreak.
Of those cases, 85% of individuals were unvaccinated, 6% had received one dose of Moderna of Pfizer-BioNTech more than 14 days before a positive test result, but had not yet received a second dose, and 9% had received a second dose, or had a the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than 14 days before a positive test result.
“These findings suggest that the B.1.617.2 variant is highly transmissible in indoor sports settings and within households,” the CDC stated. “Multi-component prevention strategies, including vaccination, remain important to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, including among persons participating in indoor sports and their contacts.”