Brookings Health System reminds the community to continue to stay vigilant against COVID-19, practicing the necessary safety precautions and getting vaccinated, especially considering the Delta variant.
“The Delta variant has the capability to infect 5-7 people versus the original virus infecting around 2-3 people,” said Infection Preventionist Bunny Christie. “This is significant because most people are unknowingly shedding virus two days prior to the onset of symptoms which increases their likelihood to infect more people before they are isolated.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants. The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. The COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant.
“Currently, South Dakota Department of Health reported that less than 1% of all COVID-19 infections are breakthrough infections; breakthrough infections are considered infections in those who are fully vaccinated,” said Christie. “This means that almost all of the current COVID infections and hospitalizations are occurring in unvaccinated people.”
COVID-19 vaccinations provide a safer way to immunity by avoiding severe risks and complications created by the COVID-19 virus. The Department of Health has opened vaccinations to all South Dakotans age 12 and older. In Brookings, vaccines are currently being distributed through local clinics and pharmacies including:
Combining the vaccine with other safety measures, including mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing, provides the best opportunity for stopping the pandemic. Information on vaccine types, ages served and times at local clinics and pharmacies can be found online at brookingshealth.org/Vaccine.
According to the CDC, the COVID-19 virus spreads mainly from person-to-person contact. The virus is primarily carried by respiratory droplets which are formed when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs, of people within six feet of the infected person.
The best prevention is to get vaccinated. Additionally, infection control precautions to prevent exposure include:
According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Most people typically experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include:
Individuals who have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19 should quarantine unless fully vaccinated. Individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms. The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people get tested 3-5 days after their exposure and wear a mask indoors until receiving a negative test result. If individuals have symptoms, they should immediately self-isolate and contact their primary care provider.
Individuals with symptoms should also get tested for COVID-19. Symptoms healthcare providers look for when they test include fever greater than 100.4°F, cough, shortness of breath OR one of the previously listed symptoms that cannot be attributed to another condition.
If quarantine is necessary, individuals should:
More information on COVID-19, what the public can do, and how Brookings Health System is responding to the pandemic can be found at brookingshealth.org/COVID.
September 13, 2021