Officials urge caution as Delta variant cases rise across the tri-state area

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As the number of Delta variant cases continues to rise in other parts of the country, health officials across the tri-state area become concerned.

Local health officials say they see an uptick in new COVID-19 cases triggered by the Delta variant, which is now the predominant variant strain in the area.

But they are also paying attention to what's going on across the country.

"Take L.A. for example. They are seeing a thousand cases a day, so we're concerned, we're looking around the country, so we wanna be careful," said Dr. Cheryl Bettigloe, acting Health Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia.

Health officials say Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware all have high numbers of people who have been vaccinated.

They also add that the data shows that 99% of hospitalizations for the Delta variant are among people who are not vaccinated.

RELATED: Delta variant spreading in areas with low COVID-19 vaccination rates

"Our real message for today is that the vaccine has shown to give you additional protection against the virus. We do have concerns given the state has reopened and there's no mandate on masks or social distancing," said Dr. Rick Hong, medical director for the State of Delaware.

In Camden County, New Jersey, officials say the Delta variant is creeping up in their numbers.

"In the last reporting sequence, over 70% of the specimens sampled were the Delta variant, and we are starting to see our cases uptick slightly," said Caryelle Lasher, assistant public Health officer for Camden County.

In Los Angeles, because of the high number of new cases, officials require masks indoors regardless of whether people are vaccinated or not.

Many locally ask, could masks be required again on the east coast?

"Here in Philadelphia, not at this point, certainly we're gonna keep a very close eye given what's happening in other places," said Bettigloe.

Lasher said, "Right now, we're following all the recommendations put forth by the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health."

For the State of Delaware, Hong added, "Hopefully, we will not reach that point. We are trusting the public to wear masks when they're not vaccinated."

Officials say worldwide vaccination is paramount to tamp down transmission and stop the virus.

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