Coronavirus: Delta variant confirmed in Clark County

Vaccinations are up as coronavirus cases rise.

The presence of the delta variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Clark County, health officials said.

Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson provided his weekly Friday update on the state of the coronavirus in the county.

Patterson noted that the health district had its first confirmed sequence of the delta variant this week.

“If before we were supposing or saying that we think it’s here… now we know for sure it’s here,” Patterson said.

This week, 105 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Clark County, four times as many cases as reported last week and more cases than were reported countywide during the entire month of July, Patterson said. The last surge the county witnessed was in April. The county rests at a “substantial” transmission rate, according to the Center for Disease Control. Last week, the county rested at “low” to “moderate” transmission levels. There are four levels with “high” transmission being at the top.

The viral load of the delta variant is substantially higher than the prior strain, Patterson said, with research showing the variant being nearly as virulent as chicken pox. Vaccinated people are at risk of contracting the delta variant, and these vaccinated individuals are also at risk of spreading the virus to others.

“The delta variant is a game changer,” Patterson said.

Vaccines, Patterson said, have picked up “considerably,” with 1,288 people in the county vaccinated within the last week. The Ohio Department of Health reported that 42.03% of Clark County residents have completed their vaccine series.

The health district is still hosting vaccine clinics, with vaccines available Saturday at the local farmer’s market from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and other information about clinics published to the health district’s website.

The vaccine, Patterson said, is also recommended for individuals who have already contracted COVID-19. The first shot is utilized to ramp up a person’s immune system, Patterson said, and the second shot gives long-term safety to an individual.

“We give a series of vaccinations to build immunity, short-term and long-term,” he said. Vaccination provides wider immunity.

A total of 88 breakthrough cases have been reported among vaccinated individuals in Clark County, with more than 60,000 people getting at least one dose of the vaccine. The county reported 95 total reinfections (people who contracted COVID-19 twice).

“More people have gotten COVID twice than those who have been fully immunized,” Patterson said.

The COVID-19 testing center for Clark County, Patterson said, will hopefully be open next week.

The district will not be mandating the use of facemasks, but recommending that those individuals who are high-risk or are wanting to be cautious wear them.

“It’s an extra layer of protection,” Patterson said.

Facts and Figures:

14,501: Number of coronavirus cases as of Friday in Clark County

308: Number of coronavirus deaths as of Friday in Clark County

60,223: Number of vaccination shots given in Clark County

42: Percentage of Clark County residents who have been fully vaccinated

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