COVID-19 Delta variant confirmed in South Dakota
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - South Dakota on Wednesday confirmed the first case of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
Health officials say this is a wake-up call to be diligent about personal safety, and above all else, getting vaccinated.
The State Department of Health confirmed South Dakota’s first case of the Delta variant originating from India. The variant was identified in rural Edmunds County. But, health officials warn that the variant may already be in more populated areas in the state.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said that the people most at risk for the new variant are those not vaccinated. He stresses that even if you’ve had the virus, natural immunity only lasts for so long.
“That protection only lasts for 3 months, and so we do know that those individuals after those three months are then open to being infected with either the current circulating strain of COVID-19 or potentially with the new Delta variant that’s out there,” Clayton said.
Health officials are concerned that the slowing vaccination rate may cause a new surge in cases and hospitalizations.
Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health said that people can still stick to the familiar tactics from over the past year to help avoid infection.
“Hand Hygiene, 6-foot distance, mask-wearing in crowded spaces, especially if you’re not vaccinated,” Kurra said. “If you’re vaccinated, you’re safe. So, if we continue to do the same things we’re doing and increase our vaccination rate we can stop this virus.”
As of June 30th, the state of Wyoming has reported four cases of the Delta variant.
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