GALVESTON – The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been identified in additional sample cases in the recent coronavirus outbreak at a church camp in Galveston County, according to the Galveston County Health District.
Health officials confirmed that the variant was identified in the three test samples after 57 Galveston County youth and adults tested positive for the coronavirus.
“The Delta variant is highly contagious, more so than other strains. And people who are unvaccinated are at most risk,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County’s local health authority.
Kaiser said not all participants were vaccinated. Ten children were too young to be vaccinated.
It was also confirmed that six fully vaccinated patients also tested positive for the coronavirus. The health district is calling those six cases “breakthrough cases,” which is defined as someone becoming infected more than 14 days after their second COVID-19 vaccination.
“It’s a little disconcerting about this particular virus and whether the Delta variant is more likely to cause breakthroughs. It brings up that question,” said Kaiser.
The health district was notified of the first positive COVID-19 case tied to the camp on June 27. Officials said 47 cases are in youth and adults 12 years and older while 10 are in youth younger than 12 years.
More than 450 adults and youth in grades six-12 from the area attended the camp late last month outside of the county.
In addition to the 57 cases, more than 90 people, including non-Galveston County residents, have self-reported to the health district that they have tested positive, according to the release.
Health officials said there may be a delay in labs reporting cases to the health district due to the holiday weekend. The health district said those at the camp who do not live in Galveston County would be reported their cases to their county of residence.
Anyone who attended the church camp who begins to feel sick or is in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive should get tested and quarantine at home while waiting for test results, according to health officials.
Dr. Ed Septimus, an infectious disease specialist and hospital epidemiologist, said about 10 percent of people across the county have not gone back to get the second dose of the vaccine.
“The importance of the second does is it number one boosts a more robust immune response but, secondly as we continue to see new variants in our community, including the Delta variant, it’s critical.”
Both Kaiser and Septimus are urging people to get the vaccine, especially if attending large gatherings.
“The data seems to show that you are about 30 to 35 percent protected against Delta if you get one dose, but if you can fully immunize, two doses at least two weeks from the second dose, that protection goes up to almost 85 percent, said Dr. Septimus.