July 15, 2021
Two COVID-19 cases attributed to the delta variant have been identified in Skagit County so far, though it can be assumed that the variant has spread more widely given that sequencing is not done on all tests.
The delta variant has been credited for dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases in other parts of the country and globally due to its increased transmissibility (meaning it spreads more easily). As of June 19, the CDC estimated the delta variant accounted for more than 30% of COVID-19 cases in the US. Two weeks earlier, 10% of cases were attributed to the delta variant.
In Washington, the delta variant accounts for about 28% of sequenced cases – that’s up from about 12% the prior two-week period. Not all cases are sequenced in Washington, so that may not represent the actual statewide proportion of cases due to the delta variant.
“While Skagit County continues to see a downward trend in new COVID-19 cases, it is vital that people continue to use precautions. The detection of these COVID-19 variants in our state proves that this pandemic isn’t over just yet.”Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director
New variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
The good news is the COVID-19 vaccines are providing protection against the delta variant, particularly against severe illness leading to hospitalization and death. Some precautions to take to decrease the spread of the delta variant—and all currently known COVID-19 variants include:
- Getting vaccinated as soon as possible if 12 years of age or older! Recent Skagit County data shows that 96% of cases since March 1, 2021 were in unvaccinated individuals. The data tells us that the vaccines work!
- Note: Vaccination is recommended even for individuals who have already had COVID-19, as experts do not yet know how long people are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.
- If you are not yet vaccinated:
- Wearing a well-made, well-fitting face mask, even with people you see regularly and in your smallest social circles.
- Keeping gatherings outside whenever possible.
- Avoiding any social gatherings indoors, but if participating, wearing a mask and ensuring windows and doors are open to maximize ventilation.
- For all individuals, staying home if you are sick or if you have been exposed to COVID-19. WA Department of Health data shows that 81% of those vaccinated who experience a breakthrough case are symptomatic. If you feel sick—get tested!
- Getting tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or were exposed to someone who tested positive.
If you are not yet vaccinated, it’s not too late! Visit your nearby pharmacy or medical clinic to get vaccinated against COVID-19; many locations now offer walk-up appointments! You can also call our vaccine hotline at (360) 416-1500 or text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX) to find locations near you with vaccine available.
You can see the state Department of Health’s variant report, updated every Wednesday, here: https://bit.ly/3ehLzo7