The new and highly contagious Delta variant has now become the dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the United States. This strain is spreading rapidly since the pandemic restrictions have been loosened. The Delta variant has made up 52% of all confirmed cases in the US, for the past two weeks. The new strain is 55% more transmissible than the U.K. variant and is more likely to cause severe disease requiring hospitalization, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). COVID-19 vaccines do provide protection against the Delta variant but the virus is a great risk to those who remain unvaccinated. According to a recent study in Scotland, the Delta variant was found to have an 85% higher hospital admission rate than the other strains. Almost all of those hospitalized were not vaccinated. The Delta variant causes a higher respiratory viral load compared to all of the non-Delta variants. The World Health Organization is encouraging vaccination, strong public health measures, mask use, and physical distancing.
While we recognize that the topic of vaccines can lead to a heated debate in our country, we have to stop and recognize that our interest is a little different than that of the general population. Each of us either have a loved one in a nursing facility or provide care to those living in a facility. During the pandemic, our elderly population was hit the hardest. The virus ravished nursing facilities across the country while healthcare workers watched so many of precious residents decline and die from the virus. We stood by, often helpless, as those we love suffered immensely from loneliness, social isolation, and fear while unable to see the ones they love the most. We do not want to repeat the events of the past year. Please consider the ramifications that your vaccination choice will have on those you care about the most.
Vaccines are able to provide robust protection from the illness caused by the virus. We are pleading for your assistance in protecting our most precious residents and staff. We each have the ability to make a difference in this fight. If you are not vaccinated, we urge you to please schedule an appointment for a vaccination today. Our facilities are able to assist you with locating available vaccines in your community.
We remain vigilant on infection control related training, we continue to fine-tune our visitation practices, and have increased testing frequency for our visitors and associates. We are always open to hearing your suggestions on how we can better serve our community and thank you for the honor of caring for your loved one. It is a responsibility that we do not take lightly.