*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
July 13, 2021
First SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Delta Variant Confirmed in Okanogan County
Vaccination is encouraged as Delta variant is detected
OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Public Health is announcing that the B.1.617.2 Delta variant was detected in an Okanogan County resident who tested positive for COVID-19 in late June. The variant was identified through genomic sequencing at the WA Department of Health Public Health Laboratory. The individual is recovering without requiring hospitalization.
Variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating widely throughout Washington state. The B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant appeared in Okanogan County in late April 2021 and is currently the predominant variant responsible for most new cases in the county. Alpha remains a “Variant of Concern” along with the Delta variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The Delta variant is substantially more transmissible than both the Alpha variant and the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and is spreading fastest in areas of the country where vaccination rates are low.
Current research shows that the COVID-19 vaccines offer effective protection against all variants of the virus and getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent severe disease. Getting vaccinated is also the best way to prevent the spread of the virus to those who cannot yet get the vaccine, such as young children.
As of July 12, there are 34 active cases of COVID-19 in Okanogan County in the past 14 days – all but one of these cases occurred in individuals who were unvaccinated. Overall, 46.8% of Okanogan County residents are fully vaccinated, however vaccination rates vary widely by location. Okanogan, Wauconda, and Riverside areas have fewer than 35% of residents fully vaccinated whereas 70% of Winthrop and Brewster residents are fully vaccinated.
All three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the US are readily available throughout Okanogan County. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals age 12 and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for those age 18 and older. To locate the free vaccines, visit: https://okanogancountycovid19.org/covid-19-vaccine/ or https://spanish.okanogancountycovid19.org/la-vacuna-covid-19/
Public Health officials remind residents to continuing using facial coverings in indoor public settings until you are fully vaccinated. Additionally, it is important that anyone exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms get tested, cooperate with contact tracers, and isolate themselves to prevent further spread.