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Orange County confirms 1st case of highly contagious Delta variant

At health departments across Southeast Texas, there is a trend that raises cause for concern.

ORANGE, Texas — Vaccine hubs are downsizing their operations as the demand decreases, but health and county leaders said the renewed spread is sparking major concerns for them.

Orange County got its first confirmed case of the highly contagious Delta variant Wednesday. The person is not hospitalized but is being treated at Houston Methodist.

At health departments across Southeast Texas, there is a trend that raises cause for concern.

"My concern comes from the low vaccination rate and the number of people who have not been vaccinated. I'm very, very concerned," said Beaumont Public Health Director Kenneth Coleman.

In Jefferson County, 39 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, and 45 percent have received at least one shot. These statistics have fallen short of the national goal of 75 percent.

The Delta variant has their attention and it should have yours, Coleman said.

"Once it reaches Galveston County, which it has, once it reaches Harris County which it has-I believe it's here. We just don't have any documented cases of being here," Coleman said.

Uncertainty surrounding the virus is what brought Mary Tomplait in to get vaccinated Wednesday. She has seen its impact first hand.

"I'm feeling much relief that I'm able to get it and feel more protected against the virus because I know that it is because I've had family that has passed away from the COVID and I know that it is very important," Tomplait said.

This week, Orange County recorded its first confirmed case of the Delta variant. The individual is not hospitalized. The Hardin County Health director said this underscores the seriousness of the virus.

"It's like everyone has gone about their day activities like COVID is gone. COVID is not gone, we still have it in the community," Said Sharon Whitley, Health Director for Hardin and Orange counties.

Our eight-county region has seen 600 new cases in two weeks. With cases on the rise, health leaders believe getting vaccinated is the best path forward

"In order to prevent the spread of COVID, we're encouraging everyone who's eligible to get the vaccine,” Whitley said.

Health officials don't anticipate opening any additional testing sites but testing and vaccines are available throughout Southeast Texas.

MORE| Here's how to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Southeast Texas

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