COVID-19 delta variant reported in Cordova

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell infected with novel coronavirus particles. (June 10, 2021) Image courtesy of NIAID

Cases of the delta variant of the novel coronavirus have been detected in Cordova, city officials announced. On Friday, July 16, the number of novel coronavirus active cases rose to 51 in what is Cordova’s largest outbreak so far.

Different genetic variants of the coronavirus have circulated around the world since the emergence of the pandemic. The delta variant, which was first identified in India in December 2020, has provoked particular concern because it is about 75% more contagious than the original strain of the virus, according to research published by the Yale School of Medicine. However, researchers found that vaccines developed to fight the original strain of the novel coronavirus also confer resistance to the delta variant.

July 16, the city raised its public health advisory to red according to the state of Alaska’s COVID-19 alert system, signifying widespread community transmission. The city remains at a Level 3 alert according to the city’s public health alert system, indicating caution but not requiring the implementation of additional restrictions. The Cordova Medical Advisory Team, in a release, advised the public to wear masks in public settings in which it would not be possible to maintain 6 feet of distance from other people.

As of Thursday, July 15, 1,625 people have been fully vaccinated in Cordova, according to data published by the city. A small percentage of vaccinated people are among those infected in the current outbreak, according to a release by the city.

Virus testing over the past two weeks has yielded a 28% positive rate, indicating that not enough tests are being performed and that many positive cases are being missed, Cordova Community Medical Center Medical Director Dr. Hannah Sanders told Cordova Radio July 16. However, a drive-through testing clinic held on the morning of July 16 was hoped to reduce the positive test rate and to identify asymptomatic cases in the community, she said.

Coronavirus vaccination is available at both CCMC and Ilanka Community Health Center. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 907-424-3045.