Garfield County Public Health Department announces six cases of the COVID-19 India variant

Weeks after Mesa County began seeing cases with the COVID-19 India variant, gene sequencing and testing confirmed the same variant in six people from Garfield County, a press release states. Earlier this week, the same variant took the life of an individual in Mesa County who was between 10-19 years old.

Public Health Information Officer Carrie Godes said the variant’s arrival is unsettling, especially since so many things are turning around regarding the pandemic.

“With summer holiday gatherings and vacations all around the corner, we have to jump on this now,” Godes said.

Out of Garfield County’s six cases, only one individual was vaccinated. The release states that the vaccination grants people greater immunity to COVID-19, and in the event that they do catch it, the symptoms are lessened.

Sara Brainard, Public Health nurse manager, said since the India variant isn’t the dominant strain circulating right now, community members must do what they can to keep it that way.

“If it is allowed to circulate and mutate in our unvaccinated population it will become a variant of concern here. Our best defense is the vaccine. We also must continue to have anyone who is sick follow isolation protocols to keep others safe,” Brainard said.

The release states vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine after exposure unless they begin to show symptoms. For those who aren’t vaccinated, they should quarantine for 10 days since the exposure and be without a fever for 24 hours.

Unvaccinated individuals have a higher chance of becoming infected and experiencing complications from the illness, the release states. Hospital related stays for COVID-19 also can be upwards of $30,000.

Brainard encouraged community members to get the vaccine for their own sake, and so that their summers won’t be interrupted by quarantine, something that would be required for entire households even if only one person was exposed.

“Getting that vaccine means you don’t have to stop life because you were exposed. What we have learned in the last year is that staying home when sick for the full recommended period, hand washing, masks, and distance still work,” Brainard said.


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