Local health officials explain dangers of delta variant

Local News

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County now has its first two cases of the COVID-19 delta variant that’s sweeping across the nation and the globe.

The health district has received confirmation from the Texas Department of State Health Services that two test samples returned positive for the variant.

Health officials say the two cases are breakthrough cases meaning the two people had already been fully vaccinated.

One individual was in their 60’s, one was in their 70’s and they both received the Pfizer vaccine.

Both have since recovered.

The delta variant can be spread at twice the pace as the original COVID virus.

“For the same amount of effort you were putting into avoiding the virus before, you’ll have to step it up,” MSU medical director Dr. Keith Williamson said.

There are several variants of COVID-19 but health officials say the delta variant is the most contagious and deadly of all.

And it has now hit Wichita County.

“So if I get infected I have a chance of infecting five other individuals. And those five individuals have the chance of infecting another five individuals, each of them. So you can see that very quickly it exponentially grows and spreads very rapidly,” WF-WC director of public health Lou Kreidler said.

“It’s that much stickier,” Williamson said.

“It requires less virus to get you infected. And it’s more likely if you come in contact with someone that has it, that you’re gonna get it from them.”

Cases and hospitalizations are swiftly rising in the state of Texas.

Health officials say there is no way to know if someone has the delta variant until after the fact.

The Texas Department of State Health Services only tests individuals who have a breakthrough case and are hospitalized.

“We had 50 cases last week. Many of those may be from the delta variant but we won’t, we won’t ever know the true answer to that because Texas doesn’t have wide gene sequencing testing available,” Kreidler said.

This uncertainty is why officials urge the public to get vaccinated since they say the vaccine will help against all variants.

“They’re the best tool we have to keep our holidays free of COVID because that’s when it’s going to really come roaring back if we’re not adequately prepared. So get your shots now before the kids get back into school and before the holidays get here,” Williamson said.

While many may have turned a blind eye to the pandemic, the delta variant is spreading in Texas and making its presence known.

More information on the delta variant can be found here.

Vaccines in the area can be found here.

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