An alarming health alert has been issued by Mesa County Public Health. The highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the county.

Contagious Variant Cases On the Rise

There are now 125 identified cases of the Delta variant in Mesa County, however, since all positive cases are not sequenced for variants, MCPH says the actual number of infections is much higher. In Mesa County, 38 of the cases reported have been in individuals age 19 and younger.

It was a little over a month ago that Mesa County became the first county in Colorado where the B.1.617.2 was detected. Yes, this is the variant that was first identified in India. The Delta variant is now accounting for more than 6% of all infections in the United States.

High Risk For Young People

According to Mesa County Public Health, the Delta variant is reported to be 50% more contagious than other COVID-19 strains and presents a higher risk of hospitalization in unvaccinated individuals. Reports indicate the variant is more contagious and transmissible, especially in young people ages 12-20.

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How To Stay Safe

MCPH advises non-vaccinated individuals to avoid crowds and to keep their distance from others because the virus and variant strain are highly contagious and spread mainly through respiratory droplets when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. The agency is also encouraging Mesa County residents to get the widely available COVID-19 vaccination. All vaccinated residents in Mesa County have a chance to win a jackpot that now sits at over $50,000.

Low Vaccination Rate in Mesa County

Mesa County lags far behind many Colorado counties in vaccination rates with just 38% of the county's population fully vaccinated. A total of 12 Colorado counties have vaccination rates of over 70%. According to 9 News, San Juan, San Miguel, and Summit counties have vaccination rates of over 80%. Western Colorado's Gunnison, Eagle, and Rout counties are among those with more than 70% of residents being vaccinated.

Everybody needs to be aware that the virus is alive and well in Mesa County and this Delta variant is highly contagious. While we continue to open up, proceed with caution and continue to implement safety protocols in your contact with others. If you feel ill, please stay home and consider getting tested for COVID. If you aren't vaccinated, wear a mask in public indoor settings, and when social distancing is not possible. Continue diligent hand washing, and at the very least give some consideration to getting vaccinated.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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