LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Long Beach Health Department is alerting the public about the discovery of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the city.
Statewide, the Delta variant has increased from 4.5% of sampled cases on May 21 to 14.5% on June 21. This variant, which is believed to be more transmissible and more likely to cause severe disease, is of grave concern, especially to unvaccinated people, according to the press release from the City of Long Beach.
Officials from the Los Angeles County Public Health are now urging people to wear masks indoors in settings such as retail stores, theaters, grocery stores, entertainment centers and workplaces, regardless of vaccination status as the Delta variant spreads.
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"For the past two and half months, we didn't see any COVID and it started to almost disappear but now, we're starting to have a resurgence and I have a feeling most of these will end up being Delta once the final PCR test is done on them. They will likely be the Delta variant," said Dr. Ali Jamehdor, the Medical Director for St. Mary's Medical Center in Long Beach.
Dr. Jamehdor said there is still a lot to learn about the variant.
"We don't know a whole heck of a lot about the Delta variant. It certainly is and does appear to be more contagious than the initial variant," he said.
Health experts said fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with the Delta variant, but people with only one dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not as well protected.
"Getting vaccinated seems to be one of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of this. Not only the spread but if you do contract it, you'll be better with it and not get to the point of having to go to the emergency room or get hospitalized," he said.
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Some doctors are seeing differing symptoms for the Delta variant with some cases appearing to be more like a bad cold. However, health officials urge anyone experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, including fever or chills, cough,
shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea to be tested for COVID-19.
In the week ending June 12, Delta variants comprised nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for about one in every five new infections across the country, up from approximately 1 in every 10 the week before.