Delta variant nears county

By David Fleet
Restaurants are open, summer festivals are planned and county fairs are rolling once again. Still, lurking in the crowds is the most contagious strain of the coronavirus so far and it’s just next door.
“The delta variant is in the surrounding counties,” said Genesee County Medical Health Officer Dr. Pamela Hackert during an interview with The Citizen last week. “As of July 12 there were 54 cases of the delta in Michigan and the people who are dying of the corornavirus are anyone who has yet to be fully vaccinated.”
Hackert said while the death rates and hospitalizations are very low among vaccinated populations that become infected, the rapid spread of delta and other variants is concerning.
“It’s just a matter of time before Genesee County has its first case,” she said. “Just as concerning is that since April vaccinations have fallen off dramatically.”
According to news sources, even before the J&J suspension news in April, 2020 the U.S. was already approaching a slow down. Now every American who wants a shot can get want they want, whether it’s Pfizer, Moderna or the one-and-done J&J.
Locally, as of July 12,  about 52 percent of Genesee County residents had received at least one dose of a vaccine and 43.7 percent have had both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer. Hackert said the county need to get about 70 percent vaccinated to prevent the original or “wild type” of COVID-19 and 85 percent for the variant streams.

In addition, Hackert along with other Health experts are urging people who have already had COVID-19 to get vaccinated.“The vaccination has been out for seven months,” said Hackert. “The side effects are very small, less than one percent, it’s a fraction.”
The GCHD continues to identify what that question or concerns that has kept individuals from getting the shot. Some of the factors include vaccination safety, needle phobia and the side effects of the vaccine.
“There are also always new rumors out there regarding the vaccines such as safety and efficacy,” she said. “There’s new social media information each week that spreads fast but is just wrong. We strongly suggest contacting the Genesee County Health Department with any questions.”
COVID-19 questions: or call 810-257-3612

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