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Delta variant of COVID-19 reported in Washoe County

By Jeri Chadwell

The Regional Information Center today reported 17 COVID-19 cases in Washoe County that have been confirmed to be the B.1.617.2 variant of concern.

The variant is known as the Delta variant, which originated in India. Of the 17 cases, four people were hospitalized (three in the Intensive Care Unit) and all were under age 60.

None of the people currently hospitalized have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant is very contagious and is disproportionately affecting younger people.

Last week, it was reported that the Delta variant accounted for 19% of cases sequenced and analyzed over two weeks by the state’s public health laboratory.

Mark Pandori, PhD, UNR

Dr. Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the 19% figure could be the result of skewed data from low case numbers.

“We are getting so little positive cases to sequence that we are afraid that our sampling has a less probable chance of being a true representation of the population,” he said.

The Health District is aware of three clusters involving COVID-19 Delta variants. A cluster is defined as two or more confirmed or probable cases that are connected to a place within a 14-day period.

One cluster of nine COVID-19 cases involves Hunsberger Elementary School students, as well as family members and household contacts. Four of the cases are elementary school children and two of those cases have been confirmed to have the B.1.617.2 Delta variant. Two of the other five cases have also been identified as the Delta variant.

Concerns have been raised about the spread of the variant among children. Washoe County School District has well over 10,000 students enrolled in summer school programs across 70 schools. Superintendent Kristen McNeill made the decision in May to drop mask mandates for students under the age of 10.

The two other clusters are at workplaces in Washoe County and are under investigation.

The COVID-19 vaccine is proven to be effective against virus, including its variants.

For those who are unvaccinated and would like to remedy that, COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center and can be scheduled here. Walk-ins are also welcome. See a schedule of operations here. Be aware, the WCHD’s vaccination site at the Livestock Events Center is closed on Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, June 27 as a result of the rodeo.

A pop-up vaccination clinic at Wooster High School on Plumb Lane is scheduled for Thursday, June 24 from 1-4 p.m. More options for vaccination at local pharmacies and elsewhere can be found here.

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