Officials say this is becoming a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

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On Tuesday, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced since Ulster County health officials confirmed the first Delta variant case, Ulster County has had 168 positive cases. The recent increase puts Ulster County at over 100 active cases for the first time since May 24.

"The science is clear, the new variant is spreading at an alarming rate and it is overwhelmingly impacting those who have yet to be vaccinated. We are all in this together, and I am asking everyone who has yet to receive the vaccine to do so," Ryan said.

As a result of the increase in COVID cases, Ryan has reissued Ulster’s Emergency Operation Center to evaluate the next steps.

"While we have made great strides in fighting this virus, we are not out of the woods yet, & the Delta variant poses a real threat to our ability to fully recover from the pandemic," Ryan added.

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In Rockland County, health officials announced four cases of the highly contagious Delta variant were confirmed during the second week of July.

Cases and the positivity rate in Rockland have increased over the last several weeks, likely due to the Delta variant, officials add.

The Delta variant initially detected in India and first detected in the United States in March 2021, is now the dominant form of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the CDC. This variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other strains, leading to more cases of COVID-19.

The Delta variant also impacts younger age groups more than previous strains, as more young people are getting sick and hospitalized with COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will lead to more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths.

Nearly all recent COVID deaths have been in unvaccinated individuals. The CDC is now calling the COVID-19 pandemic a "pandemic of the unvaccinated." Those who are unvaccinated and not practicing public health measures such as wearing a mask indoors, staying at least 6 feet apart, and avoiding crowds, have the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill or dying, which is why the Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) urges all eligible individuals to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.

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