Delta COVID-19 variant confirmed in 5 Fort Bend County residents

Officials say five Fort Bend County residents were confirmed to have the Delta COVID-19 variant, which was recently classified as a "variant of concern" by the CDC.

The "variant of concern" designation is given when there is mounting evidence that the variant may spread more easily or cause more severe disease resulting in increased hospitalizations or deaths.

RELATED: Delta variant: What to know about the spreading coronavirus strain

According to Fort Bend County Health and Human Services, the cases were confirmed on Wednesday and symptoms were present, but none of the residents were hospitalized.

Of those with the variant, officials say three had only received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and one had not been vaccinated at all prior to the start of symptoms. The vaccination status of the fifth person has not been determined.

"These cases underscore the importance of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, especially with the Delta variant becoming more prevalent in the US.  Current research shows that two doses of the mRNA vaccines are over 80 percent effective against the Delta variant" stated, Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, Director of FBCHHS.

RELATED: CDC to label delta COVID-19 strain a 'variant of concern,' say vaccines 'effective'

County health officials are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccines are available at no cost.

"The best protection that we have against this disease is to be fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated, we encourage you to wear your mask and to maintain a physical distance from others while in public," Minter said. 

Full protection is present two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As an encouragement for residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine, the Sugar Land Skeeters Organization has provided free tickets for those persons who get their vaccine from a FBCHHS vaccination site or event this weekend.