Six cases of COVID-19 omicron variant detected in southeast Nebraska

Omicron

CRETE, Neb. (KLKN)– Six people in southeast Nebraska have tested positive for the omicron variant according to the Nebraska Public Health Solutions District.

The first case was likely exposed during international travel to Nigeria, returned on November 23rd, and became symptomatic on November 24th. The five remaining cases were likely exposed through household contact with the first case.

Only one of the six people was vaccinated. None have required hospitalization.  All six people reside in the Nebraska Public Health Solutions District.

Case investigations and contact tracing are ongoing.

The patient self-identified their travel history, sought testing, and alerted PHS. A team from PHS promptly investigated and coordinated testing for sequencing to identify a variant, and
sequencing was rapidly completed through NPHL. Dr. Peter Iwen and Dr. Baha Abdalhamid at NPHL identified the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 using the Clear Labs next-generation
whole genome sequencer and the identification was made available for public health response immediately.

“The identification of omicron reinforces the urgency for Nebraskans to get vaccinated,” Dr. Matthew Donahue, DHHS Acting State Epidemiologist said. “The more Nebraskans are vaccinated,
the less opportunity new SARS-CoV-2 variants will have to take hold in the state. With delta, which is the current predominant variant, unvaccinated Nebraskans are filling hospitals at a rate
10 times higher than vaccinated Nebraskans. We are doing our part to find new variants when they emerge and arrive in the state, older Nebraskans have done their part in getting
vaccinated at high rates; we need younger Nebraskans to keep stepping up to protect themselves and each other by choosing to get vaccinated.”

For information on where you can find a vaccine provider near you, please visit the PHS website at phsneb.org.

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