FLINT – The Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) has been notified of two Genesee County residents whose additional testing at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories was positive for the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of COVID-19.
Case investigation and contact tracing has been done for both patients, one who first tested positive on July 6 and the other on July 8. Both of the people were adult males between 18 and 64 who were not hospitalized.
Delta is the name for the B.1.617.2. variant, a SARS-CoV-2 mutation that originally surfaced in India. The first Delta case was identified in December 2020, and the strain has spread rapidly.
By the end of June 2021, Delta had already made up more than 20 percent of cases in the U.S., according to CDC estimates. It is now considered the dominant strain in the U.S.
To date, 67 cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant have been identified in Michigan. Current evidence suggests the Delta variant has the ability to re-infect individuals previously infected with the original COVID-19 virus.
The Delta variant is more contagious than the Alpha B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, which is more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus. However, the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain the same. The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.
Recent studies have suggested that the current vaccines are still effective against the Delta variant. Vaccine effectiveness for the original COVID-19 virus is more than 94 percent for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
Based on studies in multiple countries, the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the Delta variant is between 64 percent and 88 percent.
Available data suggests that the Moderna vaccine’s effectiveness is similar to Pfizer, and there is not enough data available to assess the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. To provide additional protection against the Delta variant, masks and distancing are effective.
Wearing a mask in indoor areas when in close proximity to others offers additional protection, and social distance or meet others outside when possible.
For a list of available GCHD-sponsored clinics, please visit www.gchd.us/vaccinescheduler/.
Vaccines are also available at pharmacies and some local physicians’ offices. To find available vaccine near you, enter your zip code at www.vaccines.gov/search/. – G.G.