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Local health experts weigh in on presence of Delta variant of COVID-19 in Winnebago County

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — The CDC says the Delta variant of COVID-19 now accounts for 83% of the US's infections.

"We know the Delta variant has pretty much taken over the viral infections in the United States," says OSF Saint Anthony Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Bartlett.

"So far we've seen 9 cases of the delta variant detected," says Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell.

While a total of 9 confirmed Delta cases in Winnebago County may not seem like a lot, Dr. Martell says this is a strain that didn't pop up in the county until after July 1st. Since then, it's been expanding.

"The number of cases has doubled since July 4th," says Martell.

"It's unquestionably more infectious," sats Bartlett. "It takes fewer particles to get it in your body. If it gets in your body, the chances of you getting an infection are higher. It's about 80% more transmissible than the original virus."

Both Bartlett and Martell agree vaccines have proven to be effective in protecting people not only against Delta, but other strains of the virus. Which is why they say until we drastically bump up our vaccination rate, we'll continue to face different forms of COVID-19.

"Only 42% of our population is vaccinated," says Martell. "It's less than 50%. There's more opportunity for the virus to vary."

"If it's not Delta variant, it'll be another variant," says Bartlett. "We have got to get people vaccinated."

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13 WREX Newsroom

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