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San Juan Basin Public Health confirms Delta variant case in La Plata County

San Juan Basin Public Health confirmed the presence of the Delta variant that leads to COVID-19 on Tuesday in La Plata County. (Durango Herald file)
Presence of variant renews plea for vaccination, precautions

San Juan Basin Public Health on Tuesday confirmed a case of the Delta variant that causes COVID-19 in La Plata County.

Identification of the case confirms the Delta variant is present and circulating in Southwest Colorado.

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was first detected in India and is widely regarded by public health experts to be one of the most transmissible and severe variants of COVID-19 to date.

SJBPH emphasized in a news release that vaccination, especially completion of a vaccine series, is highly effective at protecting against the Delta variant.

Unvaccinated residents are at higher risk of falling ill with the Delta variant and are urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. According to state records, more than 98% of confirmed COVID-19 cases have occurred in the unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated population since January.

“The confirmed presence of the Delta variant in Southwest Colorado is concerning,” SJBPH Executive Director Liane Jollon said in the release. “Protection against this severe variant should be the strongest motivation yet for unvaccinated residents to get the vaccine without delay. The Delta variant is shown to be more severe for residents both young and old. Even if you previously had COVID-19, you still need to get the vaccine, and it’s especially important with the Delta variant that you finish your vaccine series.”

Vaccine clinics are available six days a week in La Plata and Archuleta counties. The full schedule of vaccine clinics, pop-ups and mobile clinics is available online on the SJBPH website.

With the Delta variant present in the community, continued testing allows public health officials to sequence more samples and identify if COVID-19 variants are more widespread. Vaccinated people should get tested if they have symptoms, especially after a known exposure.

SJBPH provides free COVID-19 testing in partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado at both counties’ community testing sites and at Fort Lewis College. A full list of testing sites and hours are also available online on the SJBPH website.

dgladden@durangoherald.com

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