Health officials discuss delta variant and what you need to know

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — The same fight but a different enemy. Health officials across the country are keeping a watchful eye on the delta variant as new information comes out from the CDC.

“It has evolved, and there is something that it is able to do with the vaccine, the original COVID-19 vaccine it has built up somewhat of an immunity to it,” said Roger Topping, the Administrator at the Mercer County Health Department.

Health officials said the original vaccine lessens the effects of the delta variant.

“The delta variant is actually in people that are vaccinated. There is still enough of a viral load to be contagious if you get it, so that is why people are worried about the delta variant,” said Karen Bowling, President and CEO of Princeton Community Hospital.

While the CDC reports the variant can cause more serious illnesses, local hospital staff said they treat it the same as COVID-19.

“We are going to treat it. The treatment for the patient doesn’t change. So, we are going to treat the patient the same regardless,” said Bowling.

It is much more dangerous for those who are not vaccinated.

“It is in the people who are non vaccinated and it is happening across the country and in some states, it is to the point where it is almost as serious as when we first started,” said Topping.

As of Friday evening on July 30, 2021, Topping told us the delta variant was not in Mercer County. However, with more cases popping up across southern West Virginia, he said it is only a matter of time.

“I know for a fact that it is in every county around us so it is not a matter of, as I say it is not a matter of if it gets here but when,” said Topping.

Mercer County health officials said if we start the fight now, we stand a better chance.

“It is a virus and viruses mutate and we can do everything we can. We can get vaccinated because we know the vaccination does well for hospitalization and death,” said Bowling.

At Princeton Community Hospital, masks are required regardless of vaccinations. As masks and vaccines are the best ways to prevent exposure, Topping hopes people will be proactive this time around.

“I hope we don’t have to go masked but I think that is a pipe dream. I think we are going to have to go masks I really do,” said Topping.

Princeton Community Hospital plans to offer vaccinations to all discharged patients.

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