Variant confirmed in Southeast District

NEBRASKA CITY  – The Southeast District Health Department has confirmed the first known case of the U.K. variant of COVID-19, known as B.1.1.7.

The variant was identified in a specimen collected from an adult in Otoe County and processed by the Nebraska Public Lab.

SEDHD Health Director Grant Brueggemann said confirming the presence of B.1.1.7 is an important reminder to the community to continue practicing preventative measures to control the spread of the virus.

Brueggeman told the Nebraska City Health Board Monday that the district has seen 129 new cases in the last 30 days. He said the instances per 100,000 people is at a trend the district has not seen since late August.

The number of cases have been on a downward trend for the last couple of months.

In the last 30 days there have been 50 cases in Otoe County for an instant rate of just shy of 3 per 100,000.

Districtwide last week there were only 23 cases.

He said about 25 percent of the population has received both doses of the vaccine and 20,000 doses have been administered.

Dr. Dan DeFreece of CHI Health St. Mary’s said the vaccines are effective for the variants at this point.