Delta variant cases remain low in St. Joseph and Berrien County

NOW: Delta variant cases remain low in St. Joseph and Berrien County

ST. JOSEPH, Ind. --- As many return to normal pre-pandemic life the Delta variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the country, according to the CDC. Health officials here in Michiana say we’ve seen a combined four cases of the variant in both St. Joe and Berrien County.

While they say the Delta variant doesn’t prove to be more dangerous and our numbers are still low we could still see those numbers start to rise going into the fall.

“Across the state of Michigan there have been less than 100 cases recorded of the delta variant with just about 70 of those cases across the state, but here in Berrien County. We’ve only had 2 confirmed cases," said Gillian Conrad, Spokesperson for the Berrien County Health Department.

Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says travel was not connected to the positive cases, but warns that while the numbers are still low with summer winding down and students preparing to return for school we could see an uptick in cases in the next few weeks.

“The minimum time lag for when a case is identified until we are notified of a variant is 2 weeks and more often it’s 6 weeks. Having said that we have not seen an increase over the last 2 weeks," said Dr. Fox.

Despite the growing concerns positivity rates in both counties remain steady at under 3 percent.

Both health departments say majority of the positive cases are in unvaccinated individuals and while a new study from New York University suggests the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is not as effective against the Delta variant compared to Moderna or Pfizer neither county is implementing any changes to current distribution plans.

“At this time there are no recommendations from the CDC or the FDA to give a booster shot to anybody who had received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine previously. We’re watching this very closely and there is a lot of evidence that is forthcoming about the effectiveness of that vaccine especially against these newer variants like the Delta variant," said Conrad.

While there is no official changes Fox says the county isn’t turning away those who want to receive another booster shot to help increase effectiveness.

For those that received Moderna or Pfizer, he says while there’s still risk both are still more effective than a typical flu shot.

“Those who are fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna are still very highly protected against hospitalizations and death even if they contract the delta variant," said Dr. Fox.

Both counties say they are still encouraging all residents to get vaccinated if they have not already to help lower the spread.

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