The COVID-19 Delta variant has now been detected in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
Two cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed in Santa Barbara County and on Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo County confirmed its first case. According to health officials, this variant spreads more easily and doubles the risk of COVID hospitalization than the ones we've already seen.
Although the information on the person it was detected from wasn't released, Dr. Penny Borenstein said in a statement that reads in part, “The Delta variant has been spreading rapidly throughout the world and is quickly taking hold in California... If you cannot get vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask.”
Right now in the U.S, this variant represents 20 percent of infections and 14 percent of all California cases.
"The new variant will leave un-vaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago," President Biden said during a press conference.
According to health officials, the Delta variant is more contagious and causes a more severe disease than other virus strains, Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg told KSBY. He says the County of Santa Barbara is in a good position because of its vaccination rate, adding only two Delta cases were reported back April.
"We haven't seen a single Delta variant since, which is great, fingers crossed. We get new results on Friday," Ansorg said.
However, he says those who are un-vaccinated remain at very high risk.
"The first shot you are only protected somewhere between 40-50 percent. After the second shot, you are protected 90 percent of becoming symptomatic and 99 percent protection of needing hospitalization," Ansorg said.
The Delta variant is becoming more prevalent in states where the vaccine rates are low and can become more dominant in the coming weeks.
"If you, for whatever reason, cannot get the vaccine or you're absolutely against it, then please protect yourself," he said.
With the 4th of July right around the corner, health officials advise those who are un-vaccinated to avoid crowds, especially indoors, to avoid the possibility of getting infected.