COVID variant thought to be more infectious and transmissible found in Douglas County

Posted at 2:46 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 14:08:16-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Back in December, the Delta variant of COVID-19, also known as B1617.2, was discovered in India — six months later it was the most dominant strain there and in the United Kingdom (U.K.). On Monday, the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) said it has made its way here.

The case was diagnosed in a woman who is in her 40s and is among 31 other cases reported in the state.

“The only surprise is that it took this long for the state’s largest county to have a first case of this variant,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “Please make sure to get the vaccine.”

According to WebMD, people younger than 50 are 2.5 times more likely to become infected and the infections can be worse.

“In the U.K., it’s already overtaken the Alpha variant in number of cases. That variant is thought to be 43% to 90% more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants. Experts believe Delta is anywhere from 30% to 100% more infectious than Alpha,” said WebMD.

It’s said the best way to protect yourself is to be vaccinated.

“Reports suggest two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provides 79% protection against Delta variant infection. It seems to be 88% effective against symptoms if infected,” said WebMD.

If you’ve already had COVID, the DCHD said you should still consider being vaccinated, “Because research has yet to determine how long you are protected after having COVID-19. It has been found that people can get the disease a second time, so to avoid that and build your immunity, you are advised to get the free, safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine.”

A number of clinics are available in the area. Many require no appointment. For a full list, click here.

The department wants to remind people that children ages 12-18 are eligible for vaccination but that they must have parent or guardian’s consent and a parent or guardian must accompany them at the time of the shot.

The DCHD provided other info on COVID activity in the area:

  • Since Friday, 36 more cases were reported for a total of 72,106 since the pandemic began.
  • No additional deaths were reported so the total remains at 730.
  • According to the most recent local hospital report received yesterday (Sunday) afternoon:
    • Medical and surgical beds were at 75% occupancy with 364 beds available and adult ICU beds are occupied at a 63% rate with 127 beds available.
    • There were 20 individuals hospitalized who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, with three of them receiving adult ICU level care.
    • There were four additional persons of interest (generally waiting for test results).
    • Four individuals who were confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 were on ventilators.

RELATED: COVID-19 delta variant reported in Missouri

CBS News coverage on the variant:

CDC info on COVID variants in the US:

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