Khalilah LeGrand, (402) 471-9313, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Nebraska Public Health Lab (NPHL) have confirmed the first known case of the U.K. variant of COVID-19, known as B.1.1.7 (B-117) in the state. The individual is a woman in her 20s and is a resident of Douglas County.
Dr. Gary Anthone Chief Medical Officer said, “The state has long stated that we suspected these new variants of this virus were circulating in Nebraska and we have been vigilant in our genomic sequencing efforts to quickly identify new variants to slow the spread. Masking, distancing, and getting vaccinated remain our best defenses against these new variants"
This particular variant has been found in 45 other states and is more easily transmitted, but both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown effective against it. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine which is expected to be approved soon has also been proven effective against B-117.
Case investigation and contact tracing began within 24 hours of the positive laboratory test and is ongoing.
Nebraska's top goal remains protecting hospital capacity. The efforts undertaken by the state over the course of the emergency have resulted in significantly lower hospitalizations as compared to the last several months.
As of Feb.25 over 222,000 Nebraskans have registered to receive the vaccine at vaccinate.ne.gov. Those interested in registering will need to provide name and contact information, date of birth and answer health questions used to help determine priority group eligibility. Any information entered is strictly confidential and used solely for this purpose. Friends, family and caregivers are encouraged to assist others with vaccine sign-up if needed. The DHHS Information line can assist those with limited technology, language or Internet access, and is available by calling 531-249-1873 or 833-998-2275.