Local health officials worried about holiday weekend after 1st delta variant death in Washoe County

Local News

(KTXL) — Health officials in Washoe County, Nevada say a woman died from the COVID-19 delta variant, making it the county’s first delta-related death. 

Now, local public health officials are airing a word of caution as people travel and congregate during the Fourth of July weekend. 

Washoe County public health officials say the woman who died was in her 40’s and had not been vaccinated. There are 51 confirmed cases of that variant in Washoe County as of Thursday. 

With AAA anticipating more than 47 million American traveling this holiday weekend, the latest news from Washoe County is reinforcing concerns local health officials have regarding the strain’s high transmission rate. 

“It is known to be more communicable and can be a little bit more severe. And it may get people more sick more quickly,” said El Dorado County Health Officer Nancy Williams. 

The Nevada State Public Health Lab says, between June 1 and June 25, the same variant that is responsible for infecting millions of people in India was discovered in 39% of their samples. In Sacramento, 67 cases of the delta variant have been reported, and there is a high possibility of even more. 

“Not everybody who goes and gets tested for COVID has their specimen also genotyped, so 67 is the correct number that we have,” said Sacramento County epidemiologist Jamie White. “It’s likely an underestimate of how many cases there actually are because not every case is sequenced to be a variant.”

While the woman who died in Washoe County was unvaccinated, White says fully vaccinated patients have also been infected. 

White adds this should not deter people from getting their vaccines, especially as restrictions loosen and the summer gets busier. 

“We are still seeing deaths from COVID. The number one way that people can protect themselves is still to get vaccinated,” White said. “The pandemic isn’t quite over yet, and so we encourage everyone to make safe decisions while they’re celebrating our county’s independence.” 

The woman in Washoe County had not underlying health conditions and had regular symptoms associated with COVID-19.

White says California is prioritizing cases that are associated with outbreaks, hospitalizations or cases among vaccinated persons. 

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