Delta variant detected in Rock County, health officials confirm

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab.

JANESVILLE, Wis. — Health officials say they are able to confirm the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Rock County.

It’s the fourth coronavirus variant to be detected in the county, according to Rock County Health Officer Katrina Harwood.

“With these variants in our community, it is very important that everyone continue to follow the prevention guidance,” Harwood said in a statement Friday.

The Delta variant was first identified in Wisconsin a few months ago in April.

As of Wednesday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services had confirmed about 120 cases of the Delta variant in the state. Health officials worry that number could quickly rise, though, especially in southern and southeastern Wisconsin, especially following celebrations of the Milwaukee Bucks’ NBA championship that drew tens of thousands of people.

Studies have shown the Delta variant can spread much more quickly than the original strain of COVID-19, although existing vaccines are still believed to provide a good level of protection against the variant. Rock County health officials are urging people who have not yet been vaccinated to do so, while reminding people that existing COVID precautions can help slow the spread of the variant.