COVID-19 Delta Variant Information and Testing Services
Even as the pandemic appeared to be slowing down with the availability of COVID-19 vaccinations this past spring, concerns have been renewed with the emergence of a new COVID strain, the Delta variant. This new Delta virus is highly contagious and now comprises the majority of cases in the U.S. Fortunately, there are two effective ways to protect yourself and those around you: Get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so, and get tested as needed. By undergoing COVID-19 testing for all variants at CommunityLab, you will know when it’s necessary to maintain distance from others to avoid transmitting the virus to them.
What Is the Delta Variant of COVID?
All viruses have a natural tendency to mutate into different variants. The coronavirus in particular has an extraordinarily high mutation rate, which means it can rapidly create genetic mutations. Sometimes, these genetic mutations result in advantages for the virus, such as being able to more readily transmit from host to host. The Delta variant, first identified in December 2020 in India, is a mutation of the original virus.
Top Things to Know About the New COVID Strain
The most important thing you should know about the new COVID strain is that the vaccines do offer protection from this variant. For those who have received the vaccine, the new variant is not causing undue alarm, as the vaccine is safe and highly effective against the various strains of COVID. However, even if you are vaccinated, it’s still possible to become a carrier and transmit the virus to others. Because of this, you should consider getting tested if you develop symptoms or think you may have been exposed.
Other important things to know about the new COVID strain include the following:
- It is highly contagious—almost twice as contagious as other variants of COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, the Delta variant is more readily transmissible than the common cold.
- Research suggests the new COVID strain may be twice as likely to result in hospitalization compared to the Alpha strain (among unvaccinated patients).
- Unvaccinated people are most at risk of being infected with the Delta variant and of developing severe complications from it, including death.
- The Delta variant grows more rapidly in a person’s respiratory tract, which can lead to patients getting quite sick much more quickly than with the original virus.
Lastly, COVID testing does accurately detect the presence of the Delta variant. However, patients will not know which particular variant they may have unless their sample undergoes genomic sequence testing.
Watch Out for COVID-19 Delta Variant Symptoms
The COVID-19 Delta variant symptoms are generally the same as for other strains of COVID. For example, it’s possible to develop shortness of breath, fever, a persistent cough, and loss of smell. However, there is some evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 Delta variant is more likely to cause cold- and flu-like symptoms. This includes a headache, a runny nose, and a sore throat.
COVID-19 Delta Variant Testing Available in Asheville
The recommended Delta COVID precautions are the same as for other strains of the virus. Medical experts strongly urge Western North Carolina (WNC) residents to get vaccinated and continue to wear a mask, especially in public, indoor settings. It’s also important to undergo COVID testing as needed.
CommunityLab is leading the way with rapid, accessible COVID testing in the Asheville area. Our laboratory offers polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for active infections. We conduct testing via noninvasive saliva collections and nasopharyngeal (a gentle nasal swab) sampling. If you suspect you may have previously been infected, we also offer antibody testing. Note that even if you have previously been infected, vaccination is still strongly recommended.
Partner with CommunityLab for Better Health
CommunityLab’s mission is to support better health and quality of life for all in WNC, particularly underserved populations. As a leader in personalized medicine, we believe in delivering research-driven, evidence-based solutions that meet the individual’s unique needs. We encourage our neighbors in Asheville and the surrounding areas to register for curbside COVID-19 Delta variant testing to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your WNC community. For more details, get in touch with us today!