Virginia seeing ‘significant increase’ in coronavirus delta variant infections

Virginia is experiencing a significant increase in coronavirus delta variant infections, the state’s health department said.

“Eighty percent of infections that occurred during the week ending July 10th that were caused by a variant of concern and reported to VDH were the Delta variant,” the Virginia Department of Health said in a news release Friday.

It’s an increase of 45% since the week of June 19, and it’s contributing to the surging cases in the commonwealth.

The delta variant is dominant nationwide and is the most common variant in Virginia, the health department said. You can see the other variants circulating in Virginia here.

State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver said vaccination is a very effective tool to stop transmission, and he urged everyone eligible to get vaccinated to get the shot.

“Do it for your families, your friends, your neighbors, yourself, and join the millions of others who are protected,” Oliver said in a statement.

Oliver said that the delta variant is hitting the state’s unvaccinated population especially hard.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that breakthrough infections — that’s infections in fully vaccinated people — can happen in a small proportion of vaccinated people. If this happens, the effects tend to be mild.

However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the delta variant may be infectious and might spread the virus to others, the health department said.

The delta variant spreads more than twice as easily as other strains of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The health department said it has been identified in all of Virginia’s five health regions.

The health department is advising people to wear a mask in indoor settings even if you are vaccinated, practice social distancing, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, stay home if you are infected with COVID-19, and get tested and stay separate if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Gov. Ralph Northam is recommending — but not requiring — Virginians to “consider” wearing masks indoors in areas where there is an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. Some Northern Virginia health directors said in a letter that mask-wearing should resume regardless of vaccination status.

See WTOP's full coronavirus numbers count.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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