This week, Governor Mills celebrated 80 percent of Maine adults receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But the rise of the Delta variant across the country has brought about rapid changes in COVID-19 protocols in Maine. Read on to learn how this new wave may affect you and your family.
What do I need to know about the Delta variant?
The Delta variant, which originated in India at the end of 2020, differs from the original COVID-19 strain and other variants in a number of ways:
It is more than twice as contagious as the initial COVID-19 virus. According to the CDC, every infected individual has the potential to infect up to five other people.
It causes more severe illness in unvaccinated people. Among unvaccinated individuals, the Delta variant has been shown to result in more hospitalizations than the original coronavirus strain.
You can still contract the Delta variant if you’re vaccinated. Although breakthrough infections are exceedingly rare (less than a 1 in 1400 chance), they’re not impossible. That said, vaccinated patients appear to have milder symptoms and are far less likely to require hospitalization.
What is Maine doing to combat rising cases?
Maine has updated its COVID-19 protocols in accordance with CDC guidelines. This means that people in substantial high-risk counties are advised to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. As of August 12, this affects almost all Maine counties.
Additionally, as we prepare for back-to-school season, the CDC recommends that all teachers, staff, and students in K-12 schools wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission level.
You can learn more at maine.gov/covid19/.
What else can I do to protect myself and stop the spread of the Delta variant?
Get vaccinated! This is the most important thing you can do to combat the spread of the Delta variant and bring the pandemic to an end. Vaccines are free and available to all people ages 12 and up.
To schedule an appointment, you can call the vaccine hotline at 1-888-445-4111. The hotline is live on Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or Saturday-Sunday: 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.
You can find your nearest vaccination site online and sign up by calling the individual site. Click here to find a comprehensive list of vaccine clinics in Maine.
Wear a mask indoors, even if you’re vaccinated: You read that right. Research has found that vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections can carry and spread as much virus as unvaccinated people, so masking indoors can help us to prevent additional cases. And don’t forget social distancing!