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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) held a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the COVID-19 Delta variant.

Leaders said more cases of the Delta variant have been identified in the state. They said it’s now the dominant strain in Mississippi, and it’s more contagious than they first expected.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said the COVID-119 vaccine is the best prevention against the Delta variant. He said a majority of the cases have popped up in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties.

Unvaccinated people have also been attributed to the recent COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations. Among the 11 COVID deaths that were reported on Tuesday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said 10 of those were people who were unvaccinated and one was partially vaccinated.

According to Dobbs, a majority of those who are unvaccinated are people in their 30s.