Delta Variant

Updated 12/06/2021

First detected in Oregon in early May, 2021, the Delta Variant is currently the most common variant in Benton County and the entire country. As of August 14, 2021, 93% of all COVID-19 cases in the Pacific Northwest were estimated to be caused by the Delta variant. The current surge of COVID-19 cases across Oregon is directly linked to this variant and how easily it can spread.

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How is Delta different?

The Delta variant is more transmissible, grows more quickly in an infected person, can lead to more severe symptoms, and multiplies to greater numbers even in vaccinated people.


This variant is estimated to be twice as transmissible, on average, than the original strain.

  • Delta grows more quickly once a person is infected, which leads to faster onset of symptoms
  • The fast rate of reproduction also leads to higher numbers of virus in Delta patients, 1000 times higher than in other COVID-19 patients
  • All of these factors work together to make this strain of the virus incredibly infectious

Delta is more dangerous

This increased transmissibility makes Delta more dangerous to individuals and to our state as a whole.

  • Individuals of all ages, even younger people, who contract this strain are more likely to have severe symptoms, be hospitalized, or die
  • The increase in hospital patients has put severe stress on Oregon's hospital system
    • There are very few or no staffed beds available in many areas of Oregon
    • Scheduled medical procedures, such as surgeries, are being postponed or cancelled


Vaccinations are still effective

Studies have shown that all three COVID-19 vaccines available in the US (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) remain effective at protecting you from the Delta variant, especially at preventing hospitalization and death. As with other strains, completing your full series (two shots in the case of Pfizer and Moderna) greatly increases how protected you are. While some fully vaccinated individuals may become infected (known as a “breakthrough case”), most will not and of those that do, the vaccine has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms.


Ways to protect against the Delta variant

At the end of the day, the best ways to protect yourself from the Delta variant are the same strategies that we have all been using to protect ourselves from other strains of COVID-19.

  • Get vaccinated! All available COVID-19 vaccines are safe, free, and are the most effective method of preventing the worst outcomes of COVID-19
  • Wear a mask to stop the spread of respiratory droplets
  • Keep a physical distance of 6 feet or more from people outside your home
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequetnly
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick, and contact your doctor if you think it is COVID-19