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OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — The Lake of the Ozarks is typically considered a nice summer getaway location, but now the state of Missouri’s health department considers it a COVID-19 hotspot.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a hotspot advisory on July 7 for Camden, Miller and Morgan Counties and surrounding areas. The department has over 5 million vaccinations recorded in the state of Missouri, with these counties having some of the lowest numbers.

The advisory states that vaccination rates in Miller (21.1%), Morgan (26.5%), and Camden (32.3%) counties are below the state rate of 39.0%. With the current spread of the delta variant, the advisory also stated that the variant is expected to reach the Ozarks region in the upcoming weeks.

The president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce is echoing health leaders in urging vaccination, saying it’s the best way to stop the spread of the virus.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is Missouri’s pathway to recovery,” Daniel P. Mehan said.

“As we see the more dangerous Delta variant begin to spread in certain regions of Missouri, we strongly encourage Missourians to protect themselves by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.” 

The delta variant has been found in and around the metro area. The Health Department says that the delta variant appears to spread more easily and poses a higher risk of hospitalization than prior strains and that current vaccines are proving to be effective protection.

The CDC reports the delta variant is now the dominating strain for the virus and now accounts for more than 51% of coronavirus cases in America.