According to the Associated Press, the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus was first detected in India in Oct. 2020, in less than a year, it is here and being transmitted in Sheridan.
Currently two patients have been hospitalized in Sheridan Memorial Hospital with the variant. The use of a genetic sequence-based surveillance has verified the patients have contracted the delta variant, according to SMH Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Addlesperger. With the rise in delta variant cases throughout the US, Addlesperger said it’s not a surprise to experience a spike in local cases.
The challenge faced by SMH and other medical professionals is knowing how many positive cases there are in Sheridan County.
Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been emerging and circulating around the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viral mutations and variants in the United States are routinely monitored through sequence-based surveillance, laboratory studies, and epidemiological investigations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What local medical professionals know now, Addlesperger said, it is in the community and this variant has proven to be easier to contract. Although medical professionals are still learning how quickly the variant can be contracted, evidence suggests it could be as high as twice as transmissible as the original virus.
Evidence has also shown that the delta variant is much more aggressive in reproduction, moving through the body and affecting the body’s organs, Addlesperger said.
The vaccines for COVID-19 have, to date, proven effective against the variants. Evidence shows that even if a vaccinated patient has contracted the virus, patients who received the vaccine suffer less symptoms and severity from the virus.
SMH leadership has been hoping for the best, but preparing for a surge in cases. The staffing and PPE supplies are more than enough to handle the current need.
For more information on the vaccines, click here.