(Nebraska Metropolis) – Southeast Nebraska public well being officers are retaining a pointy eye on attainable COVID-19 variants getting into the realm.
Grant Brueggeman is govt director of the Southeast District Well being Division. Talking at Monday afternoon’s Nebraska Metropolis Board of Well being assembly, Brueggeman says instances of the UK and California coronavirus variants have been confirmed in different elements of the state – together with Douglas County. Nonetheless, he says the variants haven’t been reported in southeast Nebraska.
“I do know we’re keeping track of it,” mentioned Brueggeman. “We’re attempting to push some specimens as much as the Nebraska public well being lab, as they meet the standards for the genomic sequencing. However, there’s nothing in our space domestically. I wouldn’t be stunned whether it is circulating someplace, nevertheless it hasn’t been detected but.”
Within the meantime, vaccination efforts within the area proceed. Bruegeman says roughly 20.8% of residents within the five-county area have obtained the primary dose of the vaccine, with 10.6% receiving the complete collection.
“For the 65-and-older inhabitants,” he mentioned, “54% have obtained the primary dose, and 20.6% have obtained the complete collection throughout the district. A lot of the counties are about the identical proportion, plus or minus. So, it’s pretty evenly distributed throughout the board. So, we’re type of working in parallel.”
Dr. Dan DeFreece is president of CHI St. Mary’s Hospital in Nebraska Metropolis. DeFreece says it’s not a shock that COVID variants are popping up, as viruses mutate on a regular basis.
“The query is, what does that do clinically?” requested DeFreece. “And, what does that do to the speed of sickness, to the depth of the sickness? Actually, we actually don’t know. There’s some forwards and backwards on whether or not it’s extra contagious, or much less contagious, or creates an elevated sickness burden, or much less of an sickness burden. I feel quite a lot of it simply will depend on the variants which can be on the market.”
Likewise, DeFreece says it’s unknown whether or not the present medical therapies or vaccines are efficient on the brand new variants.
“There’s good consensus that the vaccines forestall critical sickness, so far as hospitalizations or loss of life,” he mentioned. “However, we’re undecided precisely how the vaccines forestall the danger of getting the sickness. There’ll be extra popping out on that over the following few weeks. However as of now, what we’re seeing is the vaccines do appear to be protecting the variants.”
DeFreece says the hospital continues to work with the Nebraska Division of Well being and Human Companies on vaccinations. He says the hospital awaits phrase on whether or not the realm will obtain doses of the brand new Johnson & Johnson vaccine – one which requires just one shot.