Home / Health / Hawai’i DOH: The “delta” variant is expected to be a dominant strain in a month.

Hawai’i DOH: The “delta” variant is expected to be a dominant strain in a month.

Hawai’i Department of Health State Laboratories Division Administrator Dr. Edward Desmond (left), Kaua’i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman (right), Brooks Baehr, COVID-19 & Pandemic Response Administrative Assistant with the Hawai’i Department of Health (bottom) PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Health

double every two weeks

The COVID-19 Delta virus is expected to double every two weeks and is likely to become a major variable in the islands in about a month or so, according to Dr Edward Desmond, who Administers the Department of Public Health Laboratories of the State of Hawaii.

The data is based on a sampling published this week. and shared during a press conference by the Department of Health on Friday. It also comes amid news that the delta variant now exists in all four of the main counties in the state.

on thursday Molecular biologists responsible for state genome sequencing reported that 45 results returned with nine additional confirmed cases of delta variants in the islands in just a week. This brings the state total to 1

3 cases. That’s a positive rate for the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 variant at about 18%.

“That pattern is happening on the US mainland. and in other places with delta variables released It is likely to double the number of cases every two weeks or so. And that’s what I expected. It now accounts for about 18% of all cases. So I think if it follows the mainland model. In about two weeks from now will double,” said Dr. Desmond.

until now Nine cases of delta variants have been detected in Oahu. two cases in Maui one on the island of Kauai and one on the island of Hawaii

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There was a delay from sample collection and testing. The samples collected and tested in this latest batch of 45 were collected between May 31 and June 10, somewhere between 3-4 weeks ago.

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Dr Desmond said “It usually takes about three weeks … It’s a relatively small sample size to predict what percentage of each variable is,” Dr Desmond said. Noting that labs usually test 75-100 samples per week. “That represents a pretty clear percentage of the positive samples in the state. which is really enough that allows us to visualize the overall distribution of species. You see an increase in the number of cases. I think we can truly trace the situation and variable distribution with the sampling size we have and the testing capability we have today… It lets us see what’s going on,” Dr. Desmond said.

Group sampling also confirmed: 11 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, known as the first detected alpha variant in the UK, and 11 cases of the P.1 or Gamma variant first identified in the UK. Brazil

Hawaii State Department of Health Laboratory Division. Courtesy image file.

Should we be worried?

“Every time we detect a new variable in our state, I think we’re all nervous and probably anxious. And then we in the health department were asked what we were worried about or how worried we were,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, a Kaua’i district health worker.

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“The delta variable is more of a concern. Although for similar reasons More than some other variables, it seems to be much easier to convey. Even the earlier species are more easily transmitted than the original ones. It is also the first time that we have initial indications that it can cause more severe disease,” Dr. Berreman said. That’s a real reason to worry about this virus and about keeping it under control in our community.”

Contrary to where we were 6 or 8 months ago, Dr. Berreman said, “We have good news about this variant. which is, despite being the most relevant we’ve detected. But it can still be prevented greatly by available vaccines.”

While most cases involve unvaccinated individuals. At least one of the nine new cases involved “Potential vaccine breakthrough,” according to Dr. Desmond.

“What we know is that you are less likely to spread the virus to others. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do that,” Dr. Berreman said of those who were vaccinated but were infected with the virus. “So even if you have been vaccinated If you test positive for the COVID-19 virus, you must be excluded. And the health department will instruct you to isolate and help you do that for the duration as well. if you are not vaccinated Because even if you are at a lower risk But you still have some risks. And we know there are weak people out there.”

Health officials say they also believe vaccination is their number one defense. “So we know that none of our vaccines are 100%, but those who are fully vaccinated. Less likely to get sick with any vaccine, including the Delta variant. even if they are sick as some people want If you have been fully vaccinated You are unlikely to have a serious illness or need to be hospitalized. And you are less likely to spread that virus to other people, even people living with you in your home,” Dr. Berreman said.

“For me, the answer to the question is ‘Should we be worried?’ is yes, we should be concerned about this virus and it is spreading as fast in our state as we expected. But we can effectively implement that concern to slow the spread and protect us all. And that would have been vaccinated if we hadn’t been yet,” Dr. Berreman said.

Sign posted during post-arrival testing at Kahului Airport PC: County of Maui / Shane Tegarden File

How did the variable arrive? and how it spread

When asked about the arrival of the species and its eventual spread. Health officials said “The only way for the new virus to get to our state is by travel… but when it arrived especially with highly contagious delta virus variants. can spread within our community without additional travel.”

Dr Berreman said: “We know that a single test three days before your arrival does not guarantee 100% that you will not bring the disease onto the island as the disease has an incubation period of 2-14 days. So, if you were tested three days before your trip and got infected after that. Your test will be negative. But you can still experience it before you come here on vacation or go home. If you are not going on vacation and bring disease into our state.”

From July 8th, people will be able to travel from the mainland here without taking the test. If fully vaccinated That’s the day the state expects a full 60% vaccination rate.

“It is not open to all tourists from anywhere in all conditions. It is open to people who have been fully vaccinated. and frankly Fully vaccinated travelers are the lowest risk for us. And we need our tourism industry for economic well-being. which we know is closely related to people’s health. when we consider the balance It is still a responsible decision. because our population is highly vaccinated And the people we will make traveling here easier are the low-risk travelers we are most willing to accept,” said Dr. Berreman.

Health officials said they would track the number of cases. positive test rate hospital use and all the other factors they have been tracking for over a year. and will continue to advise governors and legislative leaders.

Precautions for entering the weekend

Health officials said as the holiday weekend approached, people would gather. The same high-risk for all strains of COVID-19 are at high-risk for Delta.

“So, gathering with a large number of people especially if people don’t wear masks. This is especially true if they are very close together or in a house or with poor ventilation. and especially if the person is not vaccinated. These things increase the risk. and in those environments The diffusion of delta variables is even greater than others,” Dr. Berreman said. People should be careful along those paths.”

Lanna Community Vaccine Clinic (3.27.21). PC: Lynn DeCoite Representative Office

How much does protection mean?

Health officials said How different is the hope for protection? and how much protection means to any person and to the population.

“Of course we want a vaccine that can prevent 100% everything, but that’s not true for any vaccine. that we have for any disease and all these vaccines even when compared with the delta variable. high efficiency It’s high and it’s the sort of vaccine we use regularly. which we rely on to maintain the health of the population,” said Dr. Berreman.

“As I said before, Even if you are sick with Delta or other coronaviruses. and you are fully vaccinated There is a chance of serious illness or have to go to the hospital or even in some cases with serious consequences. All of this is greatly reduced. And your chances of spreading the disease to others are also reduced. So if the choice is between a vaccine that’s not 100% but still prevents serious disease and hospitalization, then, for me, at least it’s a better choice than no vaccination and the risk of disease that increases the risk of transmission. leaven and may increase your risk of having severe symptoms. sickness,” she said.

“Due to the rapid spread of this infection And doubling as quickly as Dr. Desmond referred to, it’s very important, not just for those who are not vaccinated. But don’t delay vaccination, because every additional week is an opportunity for the virus to take over our community even more and spread more quickly. So time is the key to getting as many people as we can vaccinate. to slow the spread of this infection,” Dr. Berreman said.

Maui Maui Michael Victorino said health officials continued to monitor the situation in Maui County and across the state. “They are looking at contact tracking. Look and make sure these cases are being investigated. I believe the people at the Department of Health will do a good job. And I ask everyone – we are not out of the forest yet – please, please wear a mask. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, I do. I’m not ashamed to wear it. and maintain physical distance and practice good hygiene Vaccination is number one. But we can supplement it with other mitigation methods.”

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