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Delta variant causing uptick in cases and hospitalizations in Central Texas

Although some vaccinated people have still contracted COVID-19, health leaders say the best way to avoid infection and hospitalization is vaccination.

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — The delta variant was just detected in Travis County last week, but health leaders say it is already having a big impact on the fight against COVID-19.

Chris Van Deusen, the spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said the increase in cases and hospitalizations is directly linked to the delta variant. He said both cases and hospitalizations have doubled over the past couple of weeks.

"Looking at some of our preliminary data, most of the new cases in Texas are associated with that delta variant,” explained Van Deusen.

Austin Public Health staff said there have been at least 333 breakthrough cases since January. A “breakthrough case” is when someone who is fully vaccinated gets infected with COVID-19. 

APH reported that 14 people who have been vaccinated ended up in the hospital. Three vaccinated people have died, two of them were in long-term care facilities. Of the vaccinated people that died, their median age was 72.

"So we know there are some people, older adults, for example, or people who have underlying health conditions, their immune system may just not ramp up as quickly, or as well, as a younger, healthier person,” said Van Deusen. “And so that means their body may be slower, or just not as good, as responding to that vaccine. And so, they may be a little bit more susceptible than others."

But health leaders reiterate, the COVID-19 vaccine significantly lowers your chance of hospitalization and death.

“You know, anything we can do to prime the pump, prime the immune system to be ready to fight off that infection when it sees it,” said Van Deusen of the importance of getting your vaccine. “It's really going to make it a lot easier for the body to fight that off without having severe disease and ending up in the hospital or, God forbid, ending up dying.”

You can watch the full interview with Van Deusen here:

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