died as a result of a recent COVID-19
outbreak in the IT department of a county government building in Manatee County, Florida
, leaving only one person unharmed who had been vaccinated.
At least four people were hospitalized and two died as a result of the six known exposures that occurred around the same time, according to Dr. Scott Hopes, a county administrator and epidemiologist, who told CNN
's Erin Burnett that one died last week in the hospital and the other died at home.
Hopes told Bay News
9: "That's a 40% case fatality rate."
According to Hopes, five of the six people became ill and were unvaccinated. “This particular outbreak demonstrates the effectiveness, I believe, with the vaccine
,” he said. “All of the cases were non-vaccinated. They were unvaccinated.”
After the county closed the building Friday afternoon for an emergency deep cleaning, three more county workers tested positive for the virus over the weekend, according to Fox 13 News, and none of them were vaccinated.
Every day, approximately 700 people work in the nine-story structure.
“My suspicion as an epidemiologist is that we are dealing with a variant that is different from what we had last year,” Hopes said in a video press conference Monday. “This appeared to behave like the delta variant
. They are waiting for confirmation on what variant they are dealing with.”
The so-called delta variant was first identified in India
in December 2020, and it has been responsible for a massive increase in cases and deaths there. The mutation is more transmissible than other strains of the coronavirus
, and it is thought to cause more severe cases of COVID. It now accounts for a growing share of coronavirus infections in the United States
A Manatee County spokesperson did not respond immediately Tuesday to questions about which variant, if any, was eventually identified there.
Hopes noted that the two people who died were both under the age of 60, which contrasted with many of the COVID-19 deaths earlier in the pandemic
, when mortality rates were especially high among the elderly.
Manatee County reopened the building on Monday, and unvaccinated people will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks
, according to a press release.