Public Health Update on the COVID-19 Pandemic and Delta Variant
Concord residents should be aware of the CDC’s updated guidance on COVID-19 and the Delta variant of the virus. The Delta variant is much more contagious and spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another, compared with earlier strains of the virus. Individuals infected with the Delta variant tend to have more virus in their respiratory tracts than other variants and infected individuals may carry the virus for a longer period. These two factors contribute to the increased transmissibility seen with the Delta variant. The Delta variant is now by far the most prevalent variant in Massachusetts.
Information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) can be found here.
Given what is known about the Delta variant, vaccine effectiveness, and current vaccine coverage, CDC recommends layered prevention strategies, such as wearing masks, to reduce the transmission of this variant.
Everyone, even vaccinated individuals, should be thoughtful and careful about attending crowded indoor gatherings where respiratory viruses spread more easily.
- Everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, in areas with “Substantial” and “High” COVID transmission rates, should wear a mask in indoor public settings to help prevent spread of Delta and protect others. All Massachusetts counties are now at High or Substantial Risk for COVID transmission. Middlesex County is currently at High Risk of disease transmission, as are Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Hamden, Nantucket, Plymouth and Suffolk counties. Worcester, Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Norfolk counties are at Substantial risk. CDC’s county-level map of transmission rates can be used as guidance to determine where people should to be masking indoors even if fully vaccinated.
- Unvaccinated individuals should wear face coverings when in public indoor settings.
- Some fully vaccinated people can get breakthrough infections and may be contagious. From July 1-Ausgust 16, there have been 59 COVID cases in Concord. 29 of these cases were in fully vaccinated individuals; 19 were in children under age 12 who cannot be vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus to others. CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the disease.
- Symptoms in fully vaccinated people may be milder than in unvaccinated individuals. Everyone should get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Fully vaccinated people who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should consider getting tested 3-5 days after the date exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result. A list of Massachusetts COVID testing sites can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-testing.
- Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if they have someone in their household who is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated. This includes parents who have unvaccinated children at home.
- Unvaccinated individuals should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated. With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates. Data demonstrate that the vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, and are effective against the Delta variant. A list of Massachusetts COVID vaccine sites can be found at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations