LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) announced Wednesday it has confirmed the second local case of a COVID-19 variant. The case is a man in his 20s who contracted the U.K. variant also known as B.1.1.7. The variant was identified through special testing at the Nebraska Public Health Lab, and LLCHD is currently investigating. Lancaster County’s first COVID-19 variant case was confirmed February 27. That individual contracted the B.1.429 variant, also known as the California variant.
LLCHD said viruses constantly change, and a variant is a new form a virus. Seven cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been identified in the state so far, including the one in Lancaster County. Several COVID-19 variants have been found in the U.S. The B.1.1.7 variant strain was first identified in the United Kingdom in fall 2020 and then detected in the U.S. in December. It was first confirmed in Nebraska on February 26.
“Variants can spread more easily and quickly, and they can lead to more cases of COVID-19. We want to continue to take preventive actions to control the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in our community, which include getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available to you,” said Health Director Pat Lopez.
Data so far suggests the current vaccines should still provide protection against variants, although research is ongoing. Health officials strongly encourage residents to take these preventive actions to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask.
- Watch your distance and stay at least six feet away from others.
- Wash your hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Avoid the crowed places, close contact and confined spaces.
- Get vaccinated as soon as COVID-19 vaccine is available to you.
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