COVID-19 delta variant confirmed in three more Mid-Michigan counties
MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Three more Mid-Michigan counties reported confirmed cases of the COVID-19 delta variant on Thursday.
The variant is present in Saginaw, Shiawassee and Tuscola counties based on tests confirmed on Thursday. The Genesee County Health Department confirmed its first case of the delta variant last week.
The delta variant first was discovered in India last December and has spread across the world. Health experts say the variant is more contagious and spreads faster than the original strain of COVID-19.
Saginaw County is seeing an increase in the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks.
“While this is far below any of the surge levels we experienced last fall or earlier this year, we need to be careful and not let our guard down,” said Saginaw County Health Officer Christina Harrington. “With school starting in some districts in less than a month, we would really like our schools to have a normal back-to-school experience.”
She said health officials have suspected the delta variant around Mid-Michigan for a while and Thursday’s positive tests confirm the presence.
The Saginaw County Health Department says current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the delta variant. The Moderna vaccine is 94% effective against the delta variant while the Pfizer vaccine is 64% to 88% effective. Studies continue on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Vaccination is more important than ever,” said Dr. Mark Hamed, medical director for Huron and Tuscola counties. “The COVID-19 vaccines show effectiveness against variants and reduce the risk of serious illness that lead to hospitalization or death.”
Harrington said a majority of newly confirmed COVID-19 illnesses are occurring in people who are not vaccinated.
“The vast majority of people getting sick or being hospitalized are the unvaccinated. It’s time to get yours if you haven’t already,” she said.
Health officials say basic protocols to prevent spreading COVID-19 should continue to limit spread of the delta variant. Those include wearing a face covering indoors while close to other people, practicing social distancing and remaining outdoors with other people whenever possible.
“Due to the delta variant being more contagious, county residents should remain vigilant in practicing public health mitigation measures,” said Shiawassee County Health Officer Larry Johnson.
Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.