There is a renewed push for vaccinations after the delta variant was reported in Genesee County.
Two men tested positive this month for the highly transmissible strain, now the most dominant in the US. There are 67 cases in Michigan so far.
"The delta variant has been present in Michigan for a while,” said Kayleigh Blaney, the deputy health officer for the Genesee county health department.
The agency is urging residents to remain vigilant against COVID.
"While there might not be mask restrictions anymore, while we're in the process of reopening, COVID is still out there. COVID is still a risk,” Blaney said.
Part of that vigilance includes getting vaccinated.
"We have about 50 percent vaccination rate in the county. We know we would like that number to get higher,” Blaney said. “The alpha variant, which was the b.1.1.7 UK variant that we had talked about that was more contagious, there were increased hospitalizations. The delta variant is even more contagious than the b.1.1.7."
Some estimate the variant to be 60 percent more transmissible than the UK variant.
Blaney points out early studies indicate the vaccine's efficacy rate against the delta variant may be lower, but that it still protects against worst case scenarios.
"The vaccine still is very good at preventing severe illness, hospitalization or death. If you decide that vaccination is right for you, you would rather get vaccinated now, than have it be too late,” Blaney said.