Health officials: All residents should wear masks indoors as Delta variant arrives in Upshur County

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department on Wednesday confirmed that there is now one case of the COVID-19 Delta variant present in Upshur County.

The confirmation came on the heels of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revising its guidance on Tuesday to say that even fully vaccinated individuals are now advised to wear masks indoors in public again “to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others” if they live in an area categorized as having a ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ level of community transmission.

Upshur County is classified by the CDC as having a ‘substantial’ community transmission level, while neighboring Webster, Lewis and Braxton counties are labeled as having a high community transmission level. View the county-by-county classifications here.

“To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission,” the CDC’s updated guidance released Tuesday states. “Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.”

Gordon advised residents to prioritize protecting themselves from the variant, which is said to be more easily transmitted between people than the original virus and other variants.

“Prioritize protecting yourself,” Gordon said. “Aside from getting vaccinated, the best ways to protect yourself from getting COVID is to social distance, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.”

Gordon explained variants are identified at the state level via two methods: nasal swabs are randomly selected to be tested for the presence of a variant and additionally, in cases of reinfection or breakthrough disease, the swabs are automatically sent to the state testing lab to check for the variant.

Statewide, there were 43 COVID-19 Delta variant cases, as of Wednesday.

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