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DIDHD: Delta variant found in Dickinson County; Department encourages vaccinations

DIDHD says the Delta variant is concerning because it is associated with increased transmissibility.
The DIDHD sign in Kingsford.
The DIDHD sign in Kingsford.(WLUC)
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:04 PM EDT
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KINGSFORD, Mich. (WLUC) - The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department (DIDHD) was notified that genetic testing has confirmed that the B.1.617.2 variant, commonly known as the Delta variant, of the virus that causes COVID-19 was detected in a positive case within Dickinson County.

DIDHD says the Delta variant is concerning because it is associated with increased transmissibility. Compared to the standard SARS-CoV- 2 virus, the B.1.617.2 variant is approximately 50 percent more transmissible, leading to faster spread of the virus and potentially increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Ruth Manier, Director of Community Health Services states, “The presence of this particular variant is alarming because it is less responsive to our known treatment options, like monoclonal antibody treatments. There are concerns about immunity protection from vaccinations and natural immunity following a COVID infection, this could possibly mean an increase in reinfections for those who have already experienced a COVID infection.”

Additional public health efforts are required once the variant has been identified, to slow the spread within the community.

Manier adds, “This is our fourth variant identified in our community. Our concerns are for the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community. We are noticing that cases being identified are in a younger population. It is important to remember that we do not understand what the long-term consequences may be of experiencing an infection.”

To protect the community, the health department says we must all must continue working together to make an effort to get vaccinated and adhere to social distancing, mask-use, hand hygiene, avoiding large social gatherings, and other mitigation strategies.

Dickinson-Iron District Health Department has extended vaccine eligibility to anyone over the age of 12, as other health departments have done. Adults over the age of 18 are eligible to schedule an appointment. Parents who are interested in scheduling an appointment for their 12- 17-year-old children should call DIDHD during normal business hours.

For more information on COVID, please visit didhd.org, michigan.gov/coronavirus or michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.

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