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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Area doctors say there are growing signs of local spread of the highly transmissible, more dangerous delta variant of COVID-19.

This comes as Pfizer announced Thursday it is looking to get the OK on a booster dose.

“Our most recent data that we submitted to the state this week is that 20 percent of our positive cases were due to the delta variant. It is definitely here,” said Dr. Daniel Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic.

According to Rhoads, the delta variant is responsible for one in five cases of coronavirus in Ohio.

“We know that it’s more transmissible, similar to alpha. It looks like it causes more disease, more severe disease,” Rhoads said.

So, what’s the difference between the delta variant and the original version of the virus? For one, this variant spreads much quicker than previous ones. That has propelled local doctors to push vaccinations now more than ever.

“My biggest concern right now is the immune naive population that hasn’t gotten vaccines,” Rhoads said.

At the same time, Pfizer announced Thursday it is about to seek FDA authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, one that targets the delta variant. Pfizer said it plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the booster shot in August.

“What we know is that some people who are fully vaccinated can get infected more with the delta variant than the original variant. However, it doesn’t cause as severe a disease in people who are vaccinated and it keeps them out of the hospital very well,” Rhoads said.

Right now, about 48 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.