Due to the increasing threat of the new COVID-19 delta variant, as well as rising COVID case rates, Larimer County Health officials now 'strongly recommend' that all county residents wear masks in public indoor settings - regardless of your vaccination status.

In addition, officials are now calling on unvaccinated residents to make the decision to get vaccinated without delay.

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“There are simply not enough people vaccinated yet and wearing masks in public indoor settings is an additional step we can all take to reduce the spread of the virus,” said Larimer County Public Health Director, Tom Gonzales in a news release on Wednesday (Aug. 11).

As per the news release, The B.1.617.2 Delta variant is now the predominant strain of the novel coronavirus spreading in Larimer County.

“The impact of the delta variant is setting us back,” Gonzales said. “Larimer County is once again experiencing a high case rate and, unfortunately, increasing hospitalizations. Vaccination and masking are the best tools that we have for turning things around and ending this surge.”

Not only does data suggest the delta variant is more contagious than previous variants, some data suggests the delta variant might even cause more severe illness than previous strains of COVID-19, particularly for the unvaccinated.

Here are some stats to consider regarding the transmission of the COVID-19 delta variant in Larimer County, according to the news release: 

  • In just the past two weeks, the seven-day case rate has doubled while the rate of positivity has also jumped above 7% in Larimer County.
  • Of Larimer County residents admitted to the hospital with a confirmed case of COVID-19 from May 1 to August 9, 2021, 85% were unvaccinated and 3% were only partially vaccinated.

And some stats regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and the level of protection it provides:

  • The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant, although no vaccine is 100% effective.
  • Some fully vaccinated people will become infected (called a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. However, the vaccine has still proven to provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

A data analysis indicated that vaccinated individuals who experience a breakthrough case caused by the Delta variant may be still be able to transmit the virus to others. Because of these findings, the CDC recently recommended that everyone should revert to mask-wearing indoors, including those who are vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 vaccine data continues to demonstrate that the vaccines are overall safe and effective even against the variants currently circulating. In fact, they are now recommended for use during pregnancy based on data supporting their safety and effectiveness in pregnant patients,” Paul Mayer, MD, the Medical Officer for Larimer County, said in the news release.

For more information about COVID-19 in Larimer County, including the latest variant data and where to get a COVID-19 vaccine, visit larimer.org or covid19.colorado.gov. 

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