OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that a case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.617.2, or delta variant, was identified in Ottawa County.
The identified case was a vaccinated adult in his or her 50s with recent travel within the United States. One close contact of the case has been identified as a COVID-19 case, but has not been confirmed as also being infected with the delta variant. That won’t be known until lab results are processed.
The case is the first of delta in West Michigan, but not in the state as a whole, which has seen more than 30 cases in several counties.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies the delta variant as a “variant of concern,” which means it may be more transmissible or cause more serious illness than the base strain.
“This variant has caused a serious and deadly surge in India, where it was first identified,” Marcia Mansaray, deputy health officer with Ottawa County Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “The SARS-CoV-2 virus behaves in unexpected ways so it is hard to predict what the impact of this variant will be here, but each opportunity for spread is another opportunity for the virus to mutate. We are still in a race between variants and vaccines. Unvaccinated people will be the most vulnerable.”
The health department reminded people to adhere to COVID-19 precautions to prevent spread of the disease and urged those who have not been vaccinated to do so. Though the Ottawa County case was in a vaccinated individual, data shows the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna still work well against the variant, and the CDC is examining how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine performs. Since the J&J vaccine is similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which looks to protect against severe and deadly disease from the delta variant, the CDC anticipates the J&J vaccine will also work well at preventing severe disease.
The OCDPH also suggested that vaccinated individuals may want to consider wearing masks because of the delta variant.
“COVID-19 vaccines are the best protection we have against the virus and its variants,” said Toni Bulthuis, immunization supervisor with OCDPH. “We don’t know yet if children will be more impacted by the Delta variant. While no vaccine can be 100% effective all the time for everyone, the vaccines in the U.S. have consistently demonstrated high levels of protection against severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.”
The OCDPH continues to offer walk-in vaccination appointments from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Monday. Anyone interested in getting vaccinated who has not already can also go to www.vaccinatewestmi.com/clinics to find a vaccination clinic or opportunity nearest to them.
Anyone looking for vaccine information to help people who may have limited or no internet access are asked to call the Michigan COVID-19 hotline at 888.535.6136 or 211.