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Louisville health officials sound the alarm as 5 cases of Delta COVID-19 variant confirmed

It’s a cause for concern as health leaders said community spread is still an issue, especially among the unvaccinated.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness said they know of at least five cases of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the Metro area.

"It's shown to be highly contagious and rapidly spreading around the world," Assistant Director of Louisville Public Health Connie Mendel said. "We've identified five cases of the Delta variant in Louisville and while that sounds like a low number, the actual number of Delta variant cases is likely much larger given that not all positive COVID specimens are tested for variants."

About 54.7% of the Louisville residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 46.4% have now been fully vaccinated. Louisville Public Health Director Dr. Sarah Moyer said Tuesday that the city did reach its goal of 70% of adults receiving their first shot by July 4.

"We expect Delta to be our dominant strain here in the next month," Dr. Moyer said. "Because our community is not evenly vaccinated, we are at huge risk of our community being at risk for severe outbreaks due to the new Delta variant that is in town."

RELATED: Yes, a fully vaccinated person exposed to the Delta variant could transmit COVID-19 to others

It’s a cause for concern as health leaders said community spread is still an issue, especially among the unvaccinated. They believe summer travel is the leading cause of transmission in Louisville.

"As worrisome as the variant is, the vaccine is still highly protective and people who are immunized fully against the virus should not be concerned about having a significant risk of severe illness or hospitalization, or death," Dr. Paul McKinney, associate dean of the UofL School of Public Health, said.

Experts say you need to be fully vaccinated to stay protected from the Delta strain.

If you are not vaccinated and do plan to travel, health experts are advising to continue wearing your masks, stay away from large gatherings and make sure to get tested before and after you return.

Contact reporter Tyler Emery attemery@WHAS11.com. Follow her onTwitter (@TylerWHAS11) andFacebook.

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