HONOLULU (KHON2) – The State Laboratories Division (SLD) of the Ministry of Health confirmed on Monday, June 14 that the COVID-19[female[feminine variant B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant, was detected in an Oahu resident who recently visited Nevada in early May.
The Delta variant was also reported in Nevada in early May.
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The person was fully vaccinated before the trip and tested negative for COVID-19 before leaving Nevada.
The DOH said the person developed mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 several days after returning to Hawaii and tested positive for the coronavirus.
The individual has been isolated and close contacts have been quarantined. There is no evidence of home transmission or secondary cases.
“Fortunately, this person has been isolated and family contacts quarantined,” said Dr Sarah Kemble, acting state epidemiologist. “It does not appear that any further transmission resulted from this matter.”
She said most household members were vaccinated, which helped prevent the spread of the virus.
“Here we have an example of why even if the vaccine is not 100% of the time,” added Dr Kemble. “It’s still incredibly important and effective in slowing the spread of these new variants. “
The Delta variant was first detected in India, where the virus triggered a public health crisis in April and May. The variant now accounts for about 6% of all U.S. cases.
“This is a worrying variant, because in the UK, when the virus was there, originally in small numbers, it has spread and has now become the dominant strain in England,” said Edward Desmond, administrator. of the State Laboratories Division. “So that’s one of the reasons it’s a variant of concern that tends to become dominant, suggesting it may be more heritable.”
“Early evidence suggests that the Delta variant may spread faster than other strains of SARS-CoV-2,” said Dr Desmond. “There are reports that the Delta variant produces a higher rate of severe illness than the original COVID-19, but we do not yet have enough evidence to support this conclusion. “
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies the Delta variant as a variant of concern.
“Vaccines not only help protect against infection, they protect against serious illness,” said state health director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “Although this was one of those very rare revolutionary cases in which the vaccine did not prevent infection, the infected person did not suffer from serious illness.”
The state will allow vaccinated residents to return to Hawaii and travel freely between the islands without restrictions starting Tuesday, June 15.
Dr Kemble said she thought it was a safe decision, but was wary of travel to the mainland.
“Travel to and from the mainland is a bit more of a concern as there are pockets in the United States where vaccination rates are much lower,” she added. “We are seeing a continued importation of variants from some of these states.”