ROANOKE, Va. – While many people are now vaccinated against COVID-19 and have put the masks away, health experts are warning it’s not time to let our guard down, especially with new, more serious variants beginning to spread, like the Delta variant.
The Delta variant is now making headlines that first originated in India and has now spread to the U.S. and into Virginia. Most cases are found in the Northern and Eastern parts of the Commonwealth, but VDH’s epidemiologist, Dr. Brandy Darby says everyone should be on alert.
“Everyone needs to be somewhat concerned about COVID-19. The numbers are much better than they have been but we are definitely not out of the woods. So what I would say to anyone who is feeling nervous about the emergence of the Delta variant and wanting to protect themselves: In addition to getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19, continue to utilize those basic preventative measures,” she said.
Research shows the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against new, emerging variants.
“People continue to have really good strong immunity for at least six months against all of these strains of COVID-19 not just the variants,’ said Darby. “So what does this mean? Well, it means we are watching. how long does this immunity last and we are going to be ready with boosters if and when they’re needed,” she added.
The Department of Health is increasing testing for the Delta variant with more in-depth lab testing by looking at the genomic sequencing of the virus, which isn’t done until after the initial positive PCR test.
“Not all positive samples are going to be sent to sequencing, so we may never know if a person has a variant infection or not,” added Darby.