WENATCHEE — The highly infectious COVID-19 delta variant has made its way to the Wenatchee Valley sometime in the last months.
One case of the B.1617.2 variant in Chelan County was first reported in the state's weekly variant report on July 14.
Originally from India, the delta variant is highly transmissible, even more so than the B.1.1.7 variant which is quickly being outcompeted in case numbers by the delta variant.
But since COVID-19 samples are not necessarily sequenced as they arrive, it would be incorrect to assume the Chelan County case occurred last week, according to Teresa McCallion, public information officer at the state Department of Health.
McCallion said in an email that reporting COVID-samples from June are still being reported.
Also, the state does not sequence every positive case, she said. In June, about 15.3% of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 were sequenced, according to the state's variant report.
Among sequenced samples of the delta variant, none of them originated from Douglas or Okanogan counties.
The Chelan-Douglas Health District has no information on any specific variant cases, according to Veronica Farias, spokesperson for the health district.
Despite the presence of the variant, COVID-19 case trends have largely been on the decline in North Central Washington.
As of July 13, about 65 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last 14 days in Chelan County, or 81.6 per 100,000, according to data from the Chelan-Douglas Health District.
When the state reopened on June 30, the incidence rate was 79.09 per 100,000 according to data from the state Department of Health.
And the lowest incidence rate in the year for Chelan County would be on July 5 with an incidence rate of 61.51 per 100,000, according to state data.
While a slight increase, Chelan County's incidence rate has plateaued below triple digits since early June.
In Douglas County, however, COVID-19 cases are trending upwards since early July. As of July 13, 51 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last 14 days, or 116.6 per 100,000.
This is close to double the rate from July 5 when the rate was 59.43 per 100,000 according to the state Department of Health. COVID-cases in Grant and Okanogan counties, on the other hand, are on a downward trend.
Grant County's incidence rate has dropped down to 64.9 per 100,000 as of July 7.
And as of July 14, Okanogan County's 14-day incidence rate has dropped down to 58 per 100,000 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest in the region.
Okanogan County is now also the second county in Eastern Washington to break the 50%-threshold mark for initiated COVID-vaccinations with 50.9% in the total population as of July 12.
Chelan County, with 56.2% of its total population initiating vaccinations, is the only other Eastern Washington county to break the 50%-threshold.
Okanogan County's accomplishment occurs as the state celebrates vaccinating 70% of people 16 and older in the state, two weeks after the original goal of June 30.
Grant County still lags the furthest behind in North Central Washington, only 40.7% of total people in the county have initiated vaccinations.
Douglas County is a little less than 300 vaccinations away from breaking the 50%-threshold with 49.3% of the total population vaccinated.
The Chelan-Douglas Health District administrator and health officer will be providing updates on COVID-19 cases and its vaccination campaign at the next board of health meeting at 3 p.m. Monday.
People can attend the Zoom meeting here: wwrld.us/meeting.