PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The first case of the delta variant of the coronavirus has been confirmed in South Dakota.
The South Dakota Department of Health reported the first case of the B.1.617.2 on Wednesday.
The DOH says the one case of the variant was identified in Edmunds County. Health officials say there are likely other cases of the variant across the state.
The World Health Organization has started naming notable variants after letters of the Greek alphabet. The DOH reports variant cases through the science-based number names like B.1.1.7 (Alpha variant), which is the leading variant in the state with 169 confirmed cases.
Last week, Avera Health’s Chief Medical and Innovation Officer told KELOLAND News the delta variant is spread more easily and causes a higher rate of hospitalizations.
Both health officials with Avera and Sanford told KELOLAND News they are anticipating a rise in coronavirus cases based on South Dakota’s vaccine rates.
The DOH is reporting 52% of the state’s population 12-years-old and older is fully vaccinated.
“We are closely following this development and would like to reiterate, to all South Dakotans, the importance of getting tested and vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus,” DOH Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said in a news release. “With easier access to the vaccine and testing, it has never been easier to protect yourself, your family and our communities.”
The state is reporting 148 active cases and 19 current hospitalizations for the virus, which are among the lowest since the pandemic began in March 2020.