Are Louisiana and Mississippi Delta Variant Hot Spots?
The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been in the news a lot lately. The Centers for Disease Control has identified it as a variant of concern. Here’s what you need to know about the Delta variant:
What is the Delta variant? Is it more dangerous than other variants?
The Delta variant is a strain of the coronavirus that developed from mutations of the virus. It is known to be more contagious than previous variants and causes more severe illness. There is also increased risk for hospitalization in those infected, primarily in unvaccinated people.
Is the Delta variant in our region?
Yes. The Delta variant was first discovered in India late last year and has now rapidly spread around the world. As of today, there are several confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Louisiana and Mississippi.
According to the Louisiana governor’s office, the more contagious Delta COVID-19 variant has become the dominant strain in the country, making up 52 percent of all cases. In the region that includes Louisiana, 59 percent of all cases are the variant, which has in turn increased the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the percent positivity of tests.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of July 9, 2021, only 35% of Louisiana’s population has been fully vaccinated. The Louisiana Department of Health reported 967 COVID-19 cases on July 8, 2021, with 737 of those confirmed cases and 230 probable cases. The total number of cases reported to the state since the beginning of the pandemic is 487,558.
In Mississippi, only 33% of the population has been fully vaccinated. Mississippi has the lowest vaccination rate in the country. The unvaccinated and partially vaccinated are most at risk for developing illness due to this strain of the virus. If you have not already been vaccinated, we urge you to get the vaccine. It remains our best possible protection against COVID-19.
Do the vaccines offer protection against the Delta variant?
Yes. Studies demonstrate the vaccines provide protection against new variants of the virus, including the Delta variant. As variants of COVID-19 continue to emerge in our communities, it has never been more important for people to get vaccinated, not only to stop the spread of current strains, but to also help prevent more mutations and new strains from developing. The serious risks of COVID-19 – even for young, healthy people – outweigh the risks of any possible serious side effects from the vaccine.
Anyone age 18 years or older is eligible for all COVID-19 vaccines and anyone who is 12 years or older is eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. MyOchsner users can check availability and schedule their vaccinations via MyOchsner. Those who do not have a MyOchsner account can sign up at my.ochsner.org, visit Ochsner.org/appointment-availability or call 1-844-888-2772. Appointments are encouraged and walk-ups are welcome.
What if I am already fully vaccinated?
If you are already fully vaccinated, continue to protect yourself and others by practicing good hand hygiene. As a reminder, wearing masks is required for all employees, patients and visitors at Ochsner hospital campuses and clinics where we provide direct patient care and in all hospital and clinic common areas, regardless of vaccination status.
Learn more about getting your COVID-19 vaccine.