Kitsap County – July 15, 2021
Kitsap Public Health District reports that the delta variant of COVID-19 has been detected for the first time in a Kitsap County case, according to the Washington State Department of Health’s weekly variants report. Here are some key facts to know:
What is the delta variant?
Viruses mutate or change over time. Mutated viruses are called variants. “Delta” is one of many variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. The delta variant emerged in India and is now spreading in many countries, including the United States. The delta variant is now believed to be causing more than 50% of new cases in the U.S.
Why is the delta variant concerning?
The delta variant is concerning because data show it is more contagious, spreads more easily, and results in more serious illness than the original COVID-19 virus. This will cause more people to become sick and hospitalized, especially in communities with low COVID-19 vaccination rates and within groups that are not able to get vaccinated.
Do vaccines work against the delta variant?
Yes. Data show vaccines are effective at preventing fully vaccinated people from catching and spreading the delta variant. Vaccines provide good protection against more severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your family from any COVID-19 variant.
How do we test for variants?
Laboratories can identify variants of the COVID-19 virus using a process called whole genome sequencing. This type of testing is used for public health surveillance but is not approved or used for diagnostic testing available to individuals. Currently, about 15% of positive COVID-19 cases in Washington are being sequenced. The Washington State Department of Health produces a weekly report that tracks the spread of variants in our state.
Did the delta variant just arrive in Kitsap?
Probably not. The delta variant has been detected in several Washington counties, with more than 400 cases already confirmed in King County. The variant was almost certainly spreading in Kitsap County as well, but this week’s report marked the first time a case caused by delta was sequenced and confirmed in our county.