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Local doctors encourage North Dakota, Minnesota to get ahead of the delta variant before it's too late

One of the newest variants of coronavirus is a cause for concern from coast to coast. Dr. Anthony Fauci calls the delta variant the greatest threat to the nation's efforts to eliminate the virus. But our region still has time to prevent the delta variant from creating another wave of cases.

Sanford on Broadway
The Sanford Health medical center along Broadway in downtown Fargo is seeing normal patient volume on a comfortable June afternoon — still with its special COVID-19 unit inside should any serious surge in cases arise during the ongoing battle against the virus.
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FARGO — It is spreading quickly. More than 10% of U.S. COVID-19 cases are the more contagious delta variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I'm presuming that it's already here, whether we have detected it or not is immaterial," Sanford Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Avish Nagpal said.

About 38% of North Dakotans and half of Minnesotans are fully vaccinated according to data from those states. Even though the shots are proving to be effective against the delta variant, Dr. Nagpal worries the unvaccinated are susceptible to a surge.

"It also worries me that the risk perception goes down among people and people tend to think that we are over this," Dr. Nagpal said. "Let me make it absolutely clear, we are not over this."

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Active case numbers in North Dakota have not been this low since last April — now at 212. Dr. Nagpal said this could go back up to another wave, unless more people get vaccinate before *delta* has the chance to catch up.

"We still have time and we still have momentum on our side," Dr. Nagpal explained. "But we could very easily lose the momentum and we could have another wave of COVID-19 infections come forward."

Dr Rich Vetter with Essentia health said there are at least five known variants, and it is up to us to stay on top of them.

"So over time, that virus will continue to modify and change," Dr. Vetter said. "That's why we've been pushing for as many people to get vaccinated as possible before that virus continues to change and morph into different variants."

The delta variant was not confirmed to be in North Dakota as of Friday, June 18.

Related Topics: CORONAVIRUS
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