TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A case of the COVID-19 Delta Variant has been found in Twin Falls County, and the South Central Public Health District has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks.
Health district officials said evidence shows that the Delta Variant is significantly more infectious than the original COVID-19 strain and is considered a “variant of concern” by the Center for Disease Control.
Current COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be effective against the Delta Variant. As of July 13, about 42% of eligible South Central Idaho residents are fully vaccinated, but that number drops to about 22% when only including younger residents, between ages 12 and 34.
“All of our residents play a crucial role in stopping the disease. Right now, vaccines are still highly effective against the variants, but viruses can mutate to stay alive. With every new mutation/variant created we run the risk of this virus becoming resistant to vaccines,” said Logan Hudson, SCPHD public health division administrator. “The only way to stop variants from forming is to stop the virus from spreading. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I urge you to get your vaccine as soon as possible.”
The Health District says they are performing various outreach methods to try and get as many young people vaccinated as possible in order to help prevent the COVID-19 virus from further mutating.
“Not only are we concerned about people getting sick from COVID-19 because of the Delta Variant, but we are also concerned about this faster-moving variant of the virus causing even more disease which causes more opportunity for another variant to come out that is resistant to our vaccine,” said Brianna Bodily with the SCPHD.
Around 94% of cases reported in the South Central Idaho district since June have been in residents without a COVID-19 vaccine. Likewise, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports that 98% of COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the entire state were in residents who had no record of being vaccinated.
Case rates began dropping in mid-January, as vaccination rates climbed. That decline continued until mid-June when the trend reversed and South Central Idaho began to see a steady increase in cases.
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