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Public Health officials urge vigilance against Delta COVID-19 variant, say Georgia has few cases

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Public Health officials urge vigilance against Delta COVID-19 variant, say Georgia has few cases

Stone Mountain resident Lenora Beacham gets a COVID-19 vaccine from DeKalb Fire Rescue Senior Firefighter Michael Sontag during the food and vaccine distribution event at James R. Hallford Stadium in Clarkston on Saturday, June 5. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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Atlanta, GA — The Delta variant of the COVID-19 vaccine is making headlines around the world as the highly transmissible form of the virus will be coming soon to your community.

But the guidance against Delta and other COVID-19 variants remains the same, a spokesperson for the state Health Department said: get your vaccine, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Data is scarce on the Delta COVID-19 variant in Georgia and is currently not maintained at the local level, so there’s no word on how many Delta cases have been detected in DeKalb County, if any.

Nancy Nydam, a spokesperson for the state Health Department, said there have been few Delta cases found in Georgia as of June 28.

“Currently, there are fewer than 30 confirmed (or about .4%) cases of the delta variant in Georgia,” she said. “We do not get county-level data. However, testing in general is down significantly and only a portion of positive tests are sent for sequencing, so that number is likely an undercount. That is in comparison to the Alpha variant (previously referred to as the UK variant) which accounts for 80% of our cases.”

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the Delta variant is “greatest threat” to the United States as it attempts to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that the Delta variant “is believed to be the most transmissible variant yet,” even more so than the Alpha variant. But, the New York Times reports, it’s not a major threat to those who have been fully vaccinated. To read the full story, click here.

Nydam said vaccination is key to defeating the Delta variant and all forms of COVID-19.

“Vaccination is critical to stopping the spread of COVID and decreasing the number of variants that emerge,” she said.  “People who are unvaccinated or skip their second dose of vaccine, are targets for infection. The Georgia Department of Public Health urges all Georgians ages 12 and older to get fully-vaccinated against COVID. If you receive either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, you must get your second dose to ensure you are fully protected. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of vaccine.”

She said that currently more than 60 percent of Georgians are not fully vaccinated.

“That means every crowd is a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and the risk of COVID transmission exists, especially the delta variant which is more contagious and can cause more severe illness than other variants,” she said. “The best protection against COVID-19 remains vaccination and basic prevention measures in public – wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently.”

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