SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Health Department deputy director David Sweat said not only is the Delta variant in Shelby County, but it’s also spreading.
“If this thing gets uncorked, you’re looking at transmission levels we’ve never seen,” Sweat said.
According to the health department, there are 10 new confirmed reports of the variant.
Sweat said this is alarming, given that it’s 50 percent more transmissible than previous variants.
“If you have had prior infection or you have been vaccinated, you have a good deal of protection against the Delta variant,” he said. “As long as you’re fully vaccinated.”
Of the 10 confirmed cases, one person was fully vaccinated.
Sweat said it’s important to get the word out now for those not vaccinated and most at risk.
He said there are still 300,000 people in Shelby County who have no immunity to the virus.
“The pandemic is not over,” he said. “But we have an opportunity before it gets completely out of control, for people who have not been vaccinated to please come and get vaccinated.”
If more people don’t, Sweat said this could mean trouble in the near future.
“If we are not able to corral this and protect people, it could be a tough summer,” he said.
According to a release from SCHD, COVID-19 vaccines provide up to 88 percent protection against the Delta variant.
The cases include a cluster of cases identified June 9 and three newly confirmed cases on June 13, SCHD said.
Based on interviews, SCHD personnel have identified an additional 14 probable cases.
Those include contacts to cases who have COVID-19 symptoms but have not been tested or for whom test results are pending, SCHD said.
The cases reported with the variant since June 9 do not have travel histories outside the U.S., but they are associated in some instances with travel elsewhere in the U.S.
The Delta variant may be spreading locally in the Shelby County community, SCHD said.
The number of confirmed variant cases is expected to increase.
The Delta variant is estimated to be 50 percent easier to transmit from person to person than the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), which is presently the dominant virus in Shelby County.
SCHD urges residents to take the following actions:
· If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 disease (fever, headaches, body aches, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or gastroenteritis) get tested.
· While waiting for test results, isolate at home.
· If you have COVID-19 disease, stay at home in isolation and follow all orders from the Health Department.
· If you are named as a contact to a confirmed case and you have not been vaccinated, you must quarantine for a minimum of 6 days and then test to see if you are also infected.
· If you have not been vaccinated, please get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccination sites and providers may be found at https://www.shelby.community/.
· Those without internet access may call 901-222-7468 (SHOT) for assistance.
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