Cases of COVID-19 continue to decline in North Dakota. Even so, health experts are keeping their fingers crossed that a troublesome variant doesn’t reverse that trend.
Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe, infectious disease specialist with Trinity Health, says the Delta coronavirus variant, first detected in India, is being watched carefully in North Dakota and elsewhere around the globe.
“The Delta variant is a cause for concern,” Dr. Nwaigwe said. “Early evidence suggests it is more transmittable and could cause an increased risk of hospitalization compared to COVID-19. It also appears to be more of a risk to young people.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that the Delta variant will likely become the dominant strain in the U.S. over the next several months. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called it “the most contagious yet and more likely to cause severe illness in those who have not been vaccinated.”
While thus far there are no reports of the Delta variant in North Dakota, Dr. Nwaigwe notes we really don’t know since genetic sequencing is required to make that determination, and that takes time.
Could the Delta variant spark another outbreak in North Dakota? “I hope not,” Dr. Nwaigwe said. I’m hopeful we will not have a third or fourth wave, but it’s only a matter of time before it gets here, and it probably is already circulating.”
Dr. Nwaigwe urged North Dakotans who have not already been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, citing the danger posed by the new variant. Vaccination appointments are available by calling Trinity Health’s vaccination hotline at 701-857-2515.