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Data shows there are currently nineteen reported cases of the delta variant in the County, which has been shown to be more transmissible by 50 percent. And it's becoming more widespread in the United States.

"The virus does exactly what we expect it to do, which is become as transmissible as it's capable of being and has certain strains that compete against each other on a global scale," said Local doctor Brian Prystowsky. 

He said the fast growing variant, that originated in India, is really scary for people who haven't gotten fully vaccinated, like children who are not yet eligible.

"The efficacy of the vaccine with this new variant of concern is only decreased by maybe 10 percent," Prystowsky said. "I'm quite worried about a more contagious variant for the population that's unvaccinated."

Prystowsky says it's important to get both doses in order to protect yourself against the variant. And that in Sonoma County, where our vaccine rates are at 65 percent, there's less cause to worry.

But according to Sonoma County public health official Dr. Kismet Baldwin, just how widespread the variant is in the county is still an unknown because every COVID test isn't genotyped, and the ones that are have to be sent to the state lab.

"We are hoping that within the next month or so our own public health lab in Sonoma County will be doing the sequencing, the genotyping to be able to decrease the turn around time so we can get an accurate look of what's happening in the county," Baldwin said.

But for now, Baldwin says the message around new variants is clear.

"We are going to be continuing to monitor the variants closely and follow the trends but as of right now, everything is the same, please get vaccinated," Baldwin said.

And Kaiser Permanente Infectious Disease Specialist and Regional Epidemiologist Michael Vollmer agrees. As the virus mutates, people need to remain diligent and get vaccinated, especially if they are traveling this summer.

"It’s key that people understand it’s the same virus, it still has the same mode of transportation," Vollmer said. "The ways you protect yourself are the same."

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