The first case of the India variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Stone County.
In a press release on Monday, June 14, the Stone County Health Department confirmed the first case of the India variant (Delta or B.1.617) in Stone County. Genetic variants of COVID-19 have emerged and circulated through the state, but this is the first variant that is lab-confirmed in Stone County.
The Stone County resident who contracted the India variant passed away. According to the release, the resident had not received a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the SCHD, early research shows vaccines are effective in preventing the B.1.617 variant. Natural immunity from having COVID-19 is not effective in protecting oneself from the India variant. Individuals who previously had COVID-19 and are unvaccinated are not protected from this variant.
The SCHD said in the release it is important to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of this new strain.
In addition to the new strain, cases of COVID-19 have climbed in Stone County. The county has seen an 80% increase in cases over the last seven days, and 25.6% of the county residents are fully vaccinated.
The SCHD said in the release Stone County will continue to see an increase in cases until the vaccination rate increases.
The SCHD encourages people to continue to wear masks and social distance to help reduce the chance of being exposed to the virus and spreading it but says these measures are not enough and residents should get vaccinated.
Vaccination clinics are planned for every week at various locations in Stone County.
For more information, call the Stone County Health Department at 417-357-6134 or visit their website stonecountyhealthdepartment.com.