Central CA health officials hope for more vaccinations as Delta variant spreads

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The highly contagious Delta variant, according to the World Health Organization, has been found in nearly 100 countries around the world.

It is one of four variants of concern in the United States, first detected in March.

Health officials around the world and across the country hope more people will choose to get vaccinated as it spreads at a rapid pace.

On Friday, state officials said the Delta variant accounted for nearly 36% of COVID-19 cases sampled, compared to around 6% a month before.

Tulare County health officials reported their first Delta variant case on June 24. There have been seven more cases.

There have been at least a dozen cases in Madera County, and on Friday, Fresno County's interim health officer said they had identified 19 cases, but believed the real number was likely higher due to delays in variant testing.

"And so we're only finding out about cases that become positive, what their variant status is, two to three works, so that really hampers our ability to track this as actively as we can," Dr. Rais Vohra said.

Vohra said that unvaccinated people were most at risk for catching the Delta variant.

Vaccines, according to health officials, offer effective protection against COVID-19 variants.

But there's still one large portion of the population that can't get the shot-children under the age of 12.

"If the Delta variant becomes dominant as it's predicted to do, this might actually have some implications for school age children and how we recommend different activities for different types of education settings like schools," he said.

Orosi's Jorge Jimenez still has one more dose of the vaccine to go.

But in a world where the coronavirus continues to change, often in dangerous ways, he's looking forward to gaining full protection before taking a trip abroad.

"I mean I think it's better to be safe than sorry," Jimenez said. "At this point, I think the vaccine is well tried out and if you don't get it, you're exposing yourself even more at that point, now that we don't know what other variants are going to be coming out."
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