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Local health experts react to Delta variant likely spreading in the valley

The Delta variant of the coronavirus, which started in India, has now spread to every state in the U.S. Many local health experts are worried about spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Riverside County health officials are looking to the state for more data on the Delta variant.

"One of the things that we have in trying to track how widespread the variant might be, is that it takes time for the data to reach us, meaning we may be getting reports now about any Delta variance cases, it might be from last from May, rather than June," said Riverside County health official Jose Arballo.

Because of the Delta variant's rapid spread, Los Angeles County chose to issue a strong recommendation that everyone wears a mask in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. Riverside County is not ready to make that recommendation, just yet.

"I think here in Riverside County, we've always followed state guidance. If the state were to recommend the mask-wearing indoors like Los Angeles apparently has, that is something we would review," said Arballo.

Eisenhower Health's chief medical officer, Dr. Alan Williamson, also agrees that the Delta variant is likely in the valley.

"I think it is really, if not here already, it's it's at our doorstep," said Dr. Williamson.

Eisenhower Health will know more about its spread when it receives COVID-19 test results from the California Department of Public Health.

"We are seeing some patients that are fully vaccinated that are now coming down with COVID-19. So we're concerned those could potentially represent Delta variant cases," said Dr. Williamson.

Williamson chooses to keep wearing his mask in an effort to help slow the spread of the Delta variant.

"Given what we're seeing with this variant really getting out there into the community around us. I think it's important for us to just stay the course a little bit longer to see if we can get this knocked down once and for all," said Williamson.

Both Dr. Williamson and Arballo agree getting vaccinated may be the best answer to being protected from the growing threat of the Delta variant.

"If you've been hesitating now's the time to get out there and get vaccinated because this variant is definitely much more infectious and is spreading rapidly throughout the country," said Dr. Williamson.

“The best defense against the Delta variant or any other part of the virus is to get vaccinated," said Arballo.

Here are the updated coronavirus numbers for Riverside County which will be updated weekly instead of Monday through Friday.

Coronavirus / Top Stories / Video
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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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