First case of COVID-19 variant identified in Lancaster County
The Health Department identified the strain as a California variant.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) has confirmed its first case of a COVID-19 variant strain called B.1.429 also known as the California variant. The variant was identified through special testing at the Nebraska Public Health Lab. The local case was identified as a man in his 60s. LLCHD is currently investigating.
The State has identified 13 cases of the variant in four different health jurisdictions. The other 12 cases include nine in Douglas County, two in the Public Health Solutions district (Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline and Thayer counties), and one in the East Central district (Boone, Colfax, Nance and Platte counties).
Several COVID-19 variants have been found in the U.S. This particular variant strain was first identified in California and more recently has spread to multiple states. Less is known about the California variant than other variants, but it is likely more easily transmitted. Since variants can spread more easily and quickly, they may lead to more cases of COVID-19. Data so far suggests the current vaccines should still provide protection against variants, although research is ongoing.
“We know viruses constantly change, and a variant is a new form a virus. This development is not unexpected and it’s very likely we will see more cases related to variants identified in Lancaster County,” said Pat Lopez, Health Director. “However, this finding also signals the need for caution, and it’s critical that we continue to take preventive actions that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19, which include getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you.”
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.