North Dakota public health officials warn of rising Delta variant COVID-19 cases
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – As the Delta variant makes its way around North Dakota, public health officials are once again stressing the importance of getting vaccinated.
An NDSU public health professor says it’s only a matter of time before those who are unvaccinated get infected.
“As the World Health Organization calls it, they describe it as the fastest and the fittest. It seems to be able to outcompete all of the prior variants wherever it emerges,” said NDSU Professor of Public Health Dr. Paul Carson.
There have been 25 confirmed cases of the Delta variant in North Dakota but public health officials say that number is underreported. That’s because not every person who tests positive for COVID-19 is tested for the variant.
“We more look at what percent of our variant cases are Delta, and Delta is increasing more than any other variant,” explained North Dakota Department of Health Immunization Program Manager Molly Howell.
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 throughout the state have doubled recently.
“In the past week, we’ve had 38 individuals hospitalized, and eight of those individuals are between the ages of 20 and 40, so we are seeing more severe cases in younger age groups,” Howell added.
Dr. Carson says there is now enough data to show that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
He adds adverse health effects are more prominent from getting the coronavirus than getting vaccinated. He uses the chances of a young, healthy man getting myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, as an example.
“Vaccine risk, if you boil that down, he’s got about a one out of 20,000 chance if he’s in that 18 to 24-year-old age group. And again, that’s on the high side, other estimates put that more at one to 40,000, but I chose the high end: 1 out of 20,000 chance. That 2.3% translates with the virus at one out of 43 chance of having myocarditis,” Dr. Carson explained.
46% of North Dakotans 12 years and older are fully vaccinated.
Those who are unvaccinated are encouraged to reach out to their local health provider with any lingering questions.