“We have a chance to get ahead of this,” Health officials stress importance of vaccine as Delta variant spreads


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Health officials in Oklahoma County are stressing that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the COVID-19 Delta variant, which has been spreading across the globe.

The Delta variant has spread across Europe and moved into the United States at a pace that has the CDC and local health officials concerned.

“The CDC recently labeled the Delta Variant a variant of concern, and we want to warn everyone that this variant is more transmissible and more likely to cause severe illness in unvaccinated people,” said Phil Maytubby, chief operating officer at Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

Between June 20 and June 26, officials say 40% of the new COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma were individuals 15-years-old to 34-years-old.

“It is not surprising given this group has the lowest percentage of individuals vaccinated,” Maytubby said.

Across the U.S., the CDC reports that the Delta variant makes up 30% of all COVID-19 cases. Officials say that number is expected to grow significantly in the coming weeks.

The health department is monitoring cases through sewage surveillance, localized COVID-19 outbreaks, and COVID-19 positivity rates.

“The best tool we have to understand how the Delta variant is impacting our community is through COVID testing,” said Maytubby. “We urge all Oklahoma County residents to get tested if you are showing symptoms or believe you have COVID-19, as this not only keeps your family & friends safe, the testing data helps public health officials slow the spread of variants in our community,” Maytubby added. 

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department reminds Oklahoma County residents that the best protection against current strains of COVID-19 is the vaccine.

“We have a chance to get ahead of this situation through vaccination, so if you have been undecided about vaccination now is the time to get vaccinated”, Maytubby said. “Vaccine is widely available across Oklahoma County, and anyone who chooses not to receive the vaccine runs the risk of catching the Delta strain, and potentially becoming severely ill or even losing their life because of it.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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