(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) As the delta variant finds stronger footing in Missouri, local officials are urging citizens to get vaccinated.
The St. Joseph Health Department reported an uptick in cases and positivity rate over the last two weeks.
Currently, Mosaic Life Care is treating 13 COVID patients in St. Joseph and another one at Mosaic's Albany location.
Statewide, a rapid rise in cases is believed to be fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.
Missouri now leads the nation in the number of new cases being reported.
The CDC recently reported the variant accounted for 6.8 percent of state cases in May, the highest percentage in the U.S.
Unlike Grundy and Livingston counties, we haven't received an alert from the state that the delta variant is here, but the St. Joseph Health Department director says we need to act now before it's too late.
“I hope that people will take heed with that and get vaccinated before we get proof that it's in our community because why wait? Why wait cause it may be too late by then," Debra Bradley, Director of the St. Joseph Health Department said.
Bradley adds the good news is we know COVID-19 now and have the tools to fight it; handwashing, social distancing, masking, and getting vaccinated.
About 20.7 percent of Buchanan county residents have at least one shot.