Delta variant, local vaccination numbers discussed at Augusta commission meeting


AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF)– The director of East Central Health District, Dr. Stephen Goggans, spoke to Augusta commissioners Tuesday about how the delta variant is impacting the area.

Dr. Goggans says 78 percent of coronavirus circulating in Georgia is the delta variant.

“Delta is extremely transmissible,” Dr. Goggans said. “Probably twice as transmissible as our prior variants.”

35 percent of Augusta-Richmond County residents are fully vaccinated against covid, and 32 percent have gotten the first dose.

“The city is doing about as well as the state of Georgia overall,” Dr. Goggans said,

But he says it’s time we increase those numbers.

Though it is possible to have what is known as a breakthrough case (contracting the virus when fully vaccinated), the shot protects against extreme consequences like hospitalization and death.

And commissioners say it’s time to get the shot.

“It’s all about common sense and if you get the vaccine, then you’re okay,” Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight (District 3) said.

“We’re out there encouraging them to take the vaccine,” Commissioner Bobby Williams (District 5) said. “I’m hoping that is something we could do better with.”

The CDC updated their mask guidelines and now recommend masks indoors.

Although Georgia Governor Kemp is not mandating masks, commissioners say they hope people will get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines.

“We don’t want to shut anything down,” Commissioner McKnight said. “We don’t want to shut businesses down again if we can help it. I would stress to go get the vaccine.”

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