The new strain of COVID-19, the delta variant, has found its way to Cass County.
But Serenity Alter, Cass County Health Department administrator, said so far, there are only a few cases. An exact number could not be determined.
That’s because the health department tests and vaccinates people in Cass and surrounding counties. Once data is collected from individuals, it is sent to the Indiana State Department of Health, where the information is cataloged.
Currently, the ISDH is reporting that Cass has dropped in its positivity rate. Approximately 37 people out of 100,000 have tested positive. The county remains in the blue category, which is the lowest advisory level. Yellow, orange, and red complete the low-to-high differentiation.
On Thursday, though, Alter said the clinic was extremely busy, and the overall number of COVID-19 cases for the county just on this one day was more than it has been within the last week, combined. However, a precise number was not available.
Despite the — hopefully — isolated spike, Alter encourages people to continue getting vaccinated. She said it has been helping. There are lower rates of people being admitted to the hospital, and death rates have drastically declined.
And with the ISDH stating that the delta variant is “highly transmissible, with 70% more infections than the alpha variant,” Alter said getting vaccinated is the best weapon for protection.
“The vaccine is helping,” she said, adding that all three types — Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer — are available at the department’s COVID-19 clinic at 1616 Smith St. The first two are available to those who are 18 and older, while Pfizer is available for those 12 and older.
Alter said she has noticed fewer people displaying symptoms. Likewise, she added, individuals who have already received a vaccine but have tested positive for COVID-19 are not getting as sick as those without a vaccine.
Already, 24,000 vaccines have been administered to people throughout Cass and surrounding counties. And with school getting ready to start up for the 2021-2022 year, Alter said people need to continue to take precautions. Proper handwashing, social distancing, and wearing masks, if needed, should remain at the forefront of people’s minds.
And if anyone experiences any of the symptoms associated with the virus, Alter said to “stay home” so the virus doesn’t spread, and then she strongly suggests getting tested. The clinic will be open twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The site will be closed for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
To set up an appointment, go to https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov/. Walk-ins are welcome, too.
Vaccinations, depending on availability, are offered Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except when closed from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The clinic will not be open on Aug. 5. Likewise, it will be closed on all federal and state holidays.
Alter emphasized that regardless of which strain or variant of COVID-19 a person may be facing, the best defense is to get vaccinated.