TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A new, more dangerous version of COVID 19 has been confirmed in Pima County. The County’s Chief Medical officer says the Delta variant is easier to spread so it adds even more urgency to getting vaccinated.
The Delta mutation quickly turned India into one of the world’s worst COVID hotspots. The variation is much more contagious than earlier strains.
Doctor Francisco Garcia, Pima County’s Chief Medical Officer says, “Individually that unvaccinated individual who gets the Delta variant may have a very, very poor outcome.”
The Delta version of COVID is more likely to make someone sick enough to need hospitalization. It’s also more likely to kill.
Testing shows about 70 cases of Delta in Arizona with one of those cases in Pima County. But Doctor Garcia says Pima’s one confirmed case is probably just a sample of many more cases that have not been detected.
He says Pima County’s vaccination rate of about 45 percent puts Pima number two in the state, but that still means a very high number of unvaccinated people who will be unprotected.
“I'm hopeful that this will, that this may, get some people off the edge. Remember that we don't need absolutely 100% of people vaccinated, we just need to reach some critical thresholds of vaccination protection in order to ensure that the vast majority of the population will be protected.”
Doctor Garcia says for now Pima County has the hospital space to handle a spike in infections but he hopes one will not develop. He says for the unvaccinated, the Delta variation means there’s even more reason to wear masks and keep your distance.