The ‘delta’ strain of COVID-19 has begun to flex its muscles in Douglas County.

The delta mutation of the coronavirus, first discovered in India, landed in the U.S. in April, and now accounts for nearly 83% of sequenced cases of the coronavirus in the United States, according to a report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released earlier this month.

“Every place it has shown up, (delta) has been the dominant form,” said Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer. “Oregon has been a little late, but there have been several cases here in Douglas County.”

While the delta strain of the COVID-19 virus presents many of the same symptoms of its parent strain, SARS-CoV-2, it has shown itself to be much faster to spread, especially among those who have not received a vaccination against the coronavirus.

“Delta certainly seems to be the most contagious,” Dannenhoffer said. “There are strains from alpha through zeta, but the good news is the vaccines seem to be working against these new variants.”

As Douglas County has seen a spike in cases over the past week — there were 29 new positive tests reported Wednesday alone — Dannenhoffer said that many have been sequence tested to reveal the delta variant.

When the coronavirus was first declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020, many wrote it off as, “It’s just the flu.” More than 600,000 Americans have died from complications directly traced to the coronavirus.

“It’s very different from the flu,” Dannenhoffer said. “It’s a completely different (virus) family. It’s Great Danes and Chihuahuas. This thing started as a mutt, then grew to a Labrador. Genetically, it’s so very different. The mutations are so small, one amino acid at a time with a much shorter incubation period.

“Now, (delta) is a greyhound,” Dannenhoffer said.

“This strain is the ‘best,’ in the worst way,” said Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman, who helped form the county’s COVID-19 Response Team, which provided daily updates through the end of June. The county now posts recovery team updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“It’s the strongest. It’s better at spreading and more efficient because of its evolution,” Freeman said.

There has also been a significant drop in the average age of those who are now testing positive for COVID-19. During the peak of the pandemic, the average Douglas County resident to test positive was 74 years old. In June, that age had dropped to 47.

“The vaccines have proven to be very, very effective,” Dannenhoffer said. “A lot of our new cases are people who haven’t been vaccinated. Our hospitalizations are largely unvaccinated, younger people.

“To see a day when the people in the hospital are younger than me, that’s tragic.”

COUNTY HAS 38 NEW CASESDouglas County reported nine new positive tests Tuesday and 29 Wednesday in its midweek recovery report. There were 12 county residents receiving hospital care due to COVID-19, nine locally and three out of the area.

The county also announced its 87th death connected to the coronavirus, a 95-year-old woman who tested positive July 13 and died July 20. No further information was available.

The Douglas Public Health Network is monitoring 142 positive patients in isolation and another 144 possible contacts in quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Health Authority reported 595 new cases and six deaths Tuesday, followed by 421 new cases and one death Wednesday. Oregon’s death toll due to COVID-19 has climbed to 2,833.

Donovan Brink can be reached at and 541-957-4219.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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(23) comments


OHSU reporting 59 new cases in Douglas County today. 59!


Interesting story at the Oregonian about the relationship between vaccine hesitancy and Trump voters in various counties in Oregon. Yep It's really a thing.


Is it true Douglas County Commissioners are selling "Don't Fouchi my Douglas County" t-shirts and koosies to raise money for their future election campaigns?


Douglas County's 7-day positivity is 9.9%, the highest its been since February 16.


34 new coronavirus cases were reported today in Douglas County which is the highest number since 34 cases were reported on February 23. How much longer are our County Commissioners going to ignore this surge in cases?


Douglas County Commissioners finally got their wish they’ve been asking of Governor Brown. The Oregon Health Authority stated today they have NO plans to restore coronavirus restrictions and instead will rely on each county’s leadership and health departments to determine restrictions as they deem necessary. This is EXACTLY what Douglas County Commissioners have been loudly asking for.

This doesn’t mean the Oregon Health Authority won’t be making recommendations. For instance, the OHA said today counties with low vaccination rates like should “take action now.” And Douglas County is one of the lowest vaccinated counties in Oregon. OK, the ball is now in our Commissioners court as they requested, let’s see what they do with it.


53 of Douglas County’s 87 current coronavirus deaths occurred since the vaccine was first delivered to Douglas County on December 15, 2020. How many of those 53 unvaccinated deaths could have been saved if they had not been misled by misinformation sources and politics. How many could have been saved if our Commissioners had demonstrated leadership by using one of the many press conferences to get vaccinated in hopes others could have been saved had they followed the Commissioners example.

Most people, including myself, look forward to our Governor turning over coronavirus control to our County Commissioners who have claimed from the beginning to have known better than the Governor how to protect Douglas County’s residents. Now the Commissioners will have no excuses. They will no longer be able to point to the Governor as the problem. This responsibility for future deaths falls squarely on the shoulders of our County Commissioners.


Lane becomes first Oregon community college to require COVID-19 vaccine for all students, staff. Is UCC next?


ALL of the last 10 Douglas County deaths occurred in hospitals. 8 died at Mercy Medical Center. What is noteworthy is NONE of the deaths occurred in a Nursing Home or at the person's residence as was common in the past. One way of interpreting this is fewer people are dying in nursing homes because a very high percentage of people in nursing homes have been vaccinated.

The recent Douglas County people who are dying in hospitals are those who are most likely unvaccinated and probably NOT frail enough to be in a nursing home. Its a fact the people who are dying are getting younger. Of those last 10 Douglas County residents who died in hospitals from coronavirus, one was 33 years old and one was 54 years old. Chances are ALL of them were unvaccinated.

It's unfortunate our State and County Health Departments don't tell us whether those who have died had been previously vaccinated. Providing that information could help so much to encourage people to get vaccinated. Failure to disclose that information helps to feed the conspiracy theorists.


Dr. Dannenhoffer talks about it every week on Tuesday. From memory, so it may not be exact ... As of last Tuesday, hospitalized people were between the ages of 29-95, with an increasing number of people in their 30s-40s. About 95% of positive cases had not been vaccinated. The people with breakthrough cases have not gotten seriously ill. The Delta variant is here and our vaccination rate is too low.


To be clear, you and Dr. Dannenhoffer are saying exactly that EVERY Douglas County resident who died was unvaccinated.


[wink] I've gotten questions phrased just like that when I was on the witness stand being cross-examined. I didn't bite then either.

So ... Mr. Counsel for the Prosecution, please go to the link and listen directly. I have no authority to quote anyone exactly about EVERY Douglas county resident from memory 50 hours after the fact. The point is that it's been discussed every week. The info you're seeking is available and if you want more concise answers you can submit a question in advance.

Stepping from the witness stand to tell an unrelated tale ... My understanding is that internationally, nationally and locally the Delta variant is highly infectious. The Delta variant, also known as the Indian variant, is here. One of my closest friends is an M.D. in Varanasi, India, and although he and his family are fully vaccinated, he is still taking full covid precautions in all of his interactions outside the hospital. I intend to do the same and I am fully vaccinated. The population of Varanasi is 1.7 million and it's very crowded. It's on the banks of the Ganges and that's where Hindus are supposed to commit their dead to the holy waters. People are coming from hundreds of miles around. So Hex Bells, it's a nightmare.

I feel lucky to live in Roseburg, Oregon. We still don't know what impact the Delta variant will have here, but the numbers are up right now, the patients are younger, and locally and nationally the vast majority of recent patients have not been vaccinated.

Please, folks, get vaccinated. Trump and family are vaccinated, Mitch McConnell is vaccinated, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade are vaccinated. Even Rep. Steve Scalise got vaccinated.


As the newly installed leaders of Douglas County's coronavirus response, are our County Commissioners vaccinated?


The commissioners? I don't recall them revealing that information.


While I don't appreciate the dog analogy, I do understand Dannenhoffer making it as simple as possible to understand. New from Yahoo News is an article explaining the Delta variant here:

And a link to the new tool in that article for vaccination equity, just hover your mouse over the county:

Here's what I've expressed before, and seems what has never been established to tell those who have had Covid-19 and/or been vaccinated. "What we don't have data on is whether you get vaccinated, get a breakthrough infection, maybe have no symptoms, but you might pass it to someone who's unvaccinated."

With patience wearing thin, my thought is that if only slightly over 41% of the county has been vaccinated, those making Covid Delta the hill they choose to stand on with their nonsensical "Heard" immunity, should I happen to pass it on to you - that's on you. The County moved to open up, no one is wearing a mask, I'm not going to argue with you about wearing one. My mask is off. If you don't want to become infected, get your vaccination.


Below is the percentage of residents vaccinated with at least one dose on July 21 for each Douglas County zip code according to the Oregon Health Authority.





























Florida reported 12,648 new coronavirus cases today, its highest since January 30.


15 U.S. stated reported over 1,000 new coronavirus cases today.


This is just what viruses do....they mutate. So everyone needs to be aware that, just like the flu, we can all get used to the fact that this will be around forever. Just in different every year people can get their flu/covid shot every year, just like always.


So, you sayin' you're going to get vaccinated? Looks like the smarter folks live in 97494 -- and I'm thinking you are closer to my neighborhood in 97471.


I understand that the Delta variant is responsible for 83% of new cases nationally, not the 30% cited. (And it's getting higher, as I type this....)


Stop typing!


Clearly, I am the source of the contagion.

Typhoid Mary, hold my beer!

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