New cases of COVID-19 are rising at an accelerating rate, and the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease continues to spread. In response, the health departments of St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis are jointly issuing the attached Public Health Advisory.
The public health authorities are urging all eligible residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Individuals who are not vaccinated are at risk of illness and severe complications (including death) due to the Delta variant, which is more easily transmitted than the original version of the virus. The health departments also are revising recommendations related to masks and face covering for vaccinated individuals. For vaccinated individuals, the health departments advise residents to wear masks or other face coverings whenever they are indoors with other people whose vaccination status is unknown.
“As we monitor the Delta variant, we are seeing that it’s spreading fast, and data shows it is more infectious and impacting younger segments of the population,” Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health, said.
Dr. Faisal Khan, acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, agreed.
“This pandemic is not over,” he said. “The virus and its variants present a real and imminent danger to the health of people in the St. Louis region. We must encourage vaccination and continued precautions.”
It’s important to note that even though the vaccines are highly effective against the disease, some people who are vaccinated may still contract COVID-19. Those people may unknowingly spread the disease to children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible to receive vaccinations, as well as to unvaccinated adults.
Getting vaccinated remains the best weapon against the Delta variant. But until more people are vaccinated, individuals should also use other tools to protect against transmission of the virus, including mask wearing and social distancing.
To find a clinic or pharmacy near you with the COVID-19 vaccine available, please visit vaccines.gov.
Department of Health
Office of the Mayor
Immunizations and Public Health