Delta variant of COVID-19 virus reported found in Deep East Texas patients

Delta variant of COVID-19 virus reported found in Deep East Texas patients
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 12:54 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Officials have confirmed the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has been found in Deep East Texas.

“Delta variant is here,” said Sharon Shaw, the Angelina County and Cities Health District administrator.

Shaw said the Department of State Health Services confirmed several Delta variant COVID-19 positive samples from Angelina and Polk Counties.

“Which means we have spread,” she said. “Which means we have individuals who haven’t perhaps tested and have a mild runny nose, not feeling well who are continuing to spread the Delta variant. We’ve very concerned.”

East Texas News MedTeam doctor and infectious disease specialist Dr. Ed Dominguez said testing for variants differs from regular COVID-19 tests.

“In most places, find out you are Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or Antigen positive and then do a separate swab and send it to a facility where they are able to test for variants,” Dominguez said.

“They send it off to the DSHS lab,” Shaw said. “They’re doing random sampling to determine, as well.”

Shaw said it is important to get tested if you are showing any symptoms or exposed to anyone with the virus.

“Delta moves rapidly through the unvaccinated population, and we’re concerned aren’t where we want them to be,” she said.

For people 12 years and older that are fully vaccinated in Angelina County, the rate is around 36 percent, below the statewide rate of around 50 percent.

“We want to make sure that we continue to mask if we’re in crowded settings, specifically if you’re unvaccinated, but if you’re vaccinated, it doesn’t hurt and keeps you safe,” Shaw said.

Doctors say current evidence suggests that the full dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and serious illness. They say instances where a fully vaccinated individual becomes infected with COVID-19, known as breakthrough cases, are exceedingly rare.

“Over 90 to 95 percent of people in hospitals with Delta, as of earlier this week in the United States, have not had any vaccine, which means about up to 5 percent of hospitalized patients with Delta have been vaccinated,” Dominguez said.

Shaw said cases are growing in Angelina and surrounding counties.

“We had a 21-positive spike in Polk County just yesterday, which is a lot for one day for this area,” Shaw said.

Shaw said if you are interested in a COVID-19 vaccine, click here, to register for a vaccine with the Angelina County and Cities Health District.

We have compiled data on how many East Texas residents have received a vaccine. To view the KLTV/KTRE Vaccine Tracker, click here.

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