New strain of Covid in Minden still unidentified

By Bonnie Culverhouse

No one likes to admit that COvid is still around.

The town of Minden had a number of break-outs last week, however, Dr. Martha Whyte with Region 7 of the state Department of Hospitals told a group gathered at the mayor’s office, that this does not constitute a “hot spot.”

“For several weeks we have been in numbers of about 300 cases for the entire state every day,” Whyte said. “We are not seeing clusters.”

Minden is a different matter. Her department has seen clusters, and she feels this is a variant, she’s just unsure which one.

“Over the last week, we have seen a cluster of cases, which we get reports every few hours of another one or two,” Whyte said. “Most of them are based out of two churches, and about 35-40 percent of the people are unvaccinated.”

During a press conference Friday, Whyte said this strain may be the Delta Strain, but she won’t know until testing concludes.

“If it is the Delta Strain, it is a more contagious strain,” she said. “People who are getting sick from it, are getting sicker.”

She feels as time passes, even the number of vaccinated people contracting a strain of COvid may climb.

“It’s still amazingly low compared to the number of people who are not vaccinated,” Whyte said. “We know that getting vaccinated, even though you may still get sick, you won’t get very sick.”

Whyte said getting vaccinated should be the number one priority. In addition, washing your hands and avoiding touching the face is important.

“With wearing a mask, if you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t need to wear one if you are outside and with others you know have been vaccinated,” she said. “If you don’t know their history, then wearing a mask is the safest thing to do.”

Brian Williams, Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness Director, told members of the Webster Parish Police Jury last week there are 30 hospitalized COvid cases in the region with five on ventilators.

“In the past 30 days here in Webster, we have 110 new cases,” Williams said. “This is up 27 from the previous month’s total. We’re averaging about six more per week over last month.”

But there is some good news.

“Our positivity rate is still low,” he said. “It’s at 2.8 percent, so that’s still good.”

Whyte said she wants to push the steps people can take to ensure they get and stay healthy.

“Protect yourself,” she said. “We are not seeing deaths in the people who are vaccinated. Then protect your community.”

Dr. Whyte is the regional medical director for Region 7, which includes the parishes of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Webster. breaks it down by parish.

Webster Parish’s numbers since March 2020: Total tests – 64,819, total cases – 4,313, confirmed cases – 3,640, total deaths – 115.

These numbers were last updated at noon Friday, July 9, 2021.

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