Strong COVID-19 mutation is making a wave in Yuma County and surrounding areas - News 11's Arlette Yousif reports
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - As COVID-19 variants continue to pop up in Yuma County, the worst mutation so far is the Delta variant.
Yuma County Health officials confirmed that the Delta variant is in our community. This after a fraction of positive COVID tests were sent to a separate lab.
"We've identified the variant here and that the Delta variant is more effective at being-- it's just a better virus when it comes to replicating. So the concern there is that it's replicating faster which makes a higher viral load, which makes you more contagious earlier on after you contract the virus," says Yuma County Public Health Services District Director Diana Gomez.
Director Gomez is not the only one concerned.
"60 percent of all the cases in the— that are coming up in the nation are Delta. And then second, UK. It’s very concerning to me and to my organization," explains Regional Center for Border Health CEO Amanda Aguirre.
A huge factor is the number of people who are not fully vaccinated or vaccinated at all.
"At 47 and a half, which means that more than half the community is still exposed. So that’s still a, you know, very significant number of people who are susceptible to the disease," says Yuma Regional Medical Center Dr. Bharat Magu.
With less than half the local community inoculated, there is no new mask mandate in place in Yuma County to prevent or lessen the spread of the latest evolution of the virus.
Emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for ages zero to 11 is still under review. Meanwhile, the new school year is fast approaching. While school officials cannot enforce a mandatory mask policy for students, Director Gomez says parents can choose to have their children wear a mask to help reduce the possible contraction of the ever-changing virus.