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Delta variant cause for concern to Gov. Parson, health officials

Delta variant cause for concern to Gov. Parson, health officials

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Governor Mike Parson says as long as hospitalizations are manageable and testing continues across the state, he feels comfortable with where Missouri stands in the fight against COVID-19.

Both Parson and Dr. Harbaksh Sangha, the Chief Medical Officer for Lake Regional Health System, shared concerns surrounding the virus Tuesday.

However, Sangha says he is now seeing a surge in new cases and hospitalizations around the Lake of the Ozarks.

"We are seeing an uptick of infections and hospitalizations," Sangha said. "When you look at county-wide vaccinations, the map of who's vaccinated, the infection rates are a mirror image of vaccination rates."

Parson says although we are seeing these new cases, the state is working to get people tested and more people vaccinated.

"The one thing we're very comfortable with is, one, we continue to do the testing every day in the state of Missouri," Parson said. "We know what our hospitalization rates are, we know that they're not climbing at an extreme rate like they were before and we're going to deal with that."

According to data from the CDC, Missouri now leads the nation with the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days. However, Gov. Parson says with vaccines and testing available, hospitalizations and deaths should remain low.

"We're going to deal with COVID-19 for a while, we just got to make sure we're testing and we got the vaccine available," Parson said.

Sangha says it's clear why certain parts of the state are seeing a surge in cases. He says the Delta variant is hitting people under 65 who are not vaccinated.

Lisa Cox with the state health department says it's working on an aggressive public education effort to encourage Missourians to get vaccinated, but the department thinks Missourians are still skeptical.

Cox says the state is exploring incentive options to get people vaccinated.

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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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