Delta variant cases triple in Nevada, spur new precautions in LA County

The delta coronavirus variant is gaining a foothold in some parts of the country, underscoring the need to continue vaccinations and, in some cases, reimpose public health precautions.

In the week ending June 12, the delta variant accounted for nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County. At present, the county has confirmed 123 infections from delta, 110 of which involved unvaccinated individuals. 

Los Angeles County health officials on June 28 recommended all residents wear masks in indoor public spaces even if they've been vaccinated against COVID-19. The recommendation comes about two weeks after California's reopening, in which the state aligned with CDC guidelines, saying fully vaccinated people don't need to wear masks in most cases, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Until more is understood about the delta variant's spread, "everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine, as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits," health officials said in the recommendation. They added that vaccines offer good protection against the variant.

In Nevada, the delta variant is now the most widespread strain. New data shows the variant accounts for 46 percent of cases analyzed by the state's public health laboratory over the last two weeks, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Last week, this figure sat at 16 percent.

"Its frequency among positive cases in Nevada has tripled," Mark Pandori,PhD, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the University of Nevada-Reno, told the publication. "The viruses that unvaccinated people are facing right now are the Olympic champions of infecting people."

Nevada has the highest rate of new cases of all U.S. states as of June 29, according to data from The New York Times. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on June 28 said that state and local health officials were "redoubling" vaccination efforts in response. 

The delta variant now accounts for 20 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. 

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