Highly transmissible Delta variant has been detected in all 4 major Hawaii counties

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Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 12:39 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 25, 2021 at 5:13 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a worrisome update Friday, the state Health Department said it has now detected the highly transmissible Delta variant in all four of Hawaii’s major counties.

The state announced community spread of the variant earlier this week after confirming four separate cases, three of which were associated with travel.

Now the state says it has detected a total of 13 separate cases of the COVID variant B.1.617.2.

“The rapid spread of the Delta variant is troubling, but not surprising,” said State Laboratories Division Administrator Dr. Edward Desmond, in a news release.

“Cases of this particular strain of COVID-19 have doubled every two weeks in other jurisdictions so we expected it to move quickly after it was first detected on Oahu earlier this month.”

The Delta variant, originally from India, is known to be much more contagious. Preliminary research also shows it results in a higher rate of illness than other variants, Health Department officials said.

Nine cases of the Delta variant were Oahu, two on Maui, one on Kauai and one on Hawaii island.

The good news is that vaccines protect against the Delta variant.

“We believe the nine cases most recently identified represent seven or eight separate introductions into the state,” said Dr. Sarah Kemble, the acting state epidemiologist.

“Unfortunately, we can expect case numbers to grow. People who are not vaccinated face a greater risk than those protected by vaccines.”

This story will be updated.

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