Published on July 20, 2021
Health officials say delta variant is a driving factor
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) officials reported today that they are closely monitoring a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and it appears the delta variant is a driving factor.
The delta variant is now the most frequently identified variant in both Nebraska and Lancaster County. It’s spreading fast in other areas of the U.S. and currently surging in pockets of the country with low vaccination rates including some surrounding states.
The delta variant is different. It spreads more easily and more rapidly than other variants and it’s more likely to cause severe disease, especially in those who are unvaccinated.
“Public health experts have been clear that the pandemic isn’t over and the increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our area are concerning,” said Pat Lopez, Health Director. “People who are unvaccinated are particularly at risk. The delta variant will keep spreading if it has the opportunity. We continue to urge every eligible adult and child to get vaccinated now if they haven’t already. Vaccination is the best protection we have against the delta variant. It helps prevent severe illness, reduces hospitalizations and slows further spread in our community.”
If you’ve had COVID-19, the latest research shows you may not be protected against the delta variant, which stresses the importance of vaccination for those who have had the disease.
Children not yet eligible for vaccine or others who may not be able to get vaccinated are more susceptible. They can be protected by those around them getting vaccinated.
The beginning of the school year isn’t that far away, and the more students and teachers who are vaccinated help minimize the potential impact of the virus and its variants on local educational institutions. The Health Department has partnered with local pediatric practices so they can offer vaccine to patients onsite, which gives parents an opportunity to talk to their child’s health care provider about the vaccine and any questions they may have. It takes at least five weeks for a person to be fully vaccinated with a two-dose series. It’s important to start the process now to be close to fully vaccinated by the time school starts.
Residents age 12 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine, and there are several vaccination opportunities this week including vaccinations clinics Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. and Friday 9a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Health Department, 3131 “O” St. Walk-ins are welcome or people can schedule an appointment at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. Additional clinic locations are added frequently. Those who do not have online access or who need assistance with registration or scheduling may call the LLCHD COVID-19 hotline at 402-441-8006 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Residents can also find a local pharmacy offering vaccinations at vaccines.gov or by texting their ZIP code to 438829.
COVID-19 vaccination is the best protection but here are other ways you can help slow the spread of the delta variant and protect yourself, your loved ones and our community:
- If you’re unvaccinated, masks are recommended in certain situations including indoor gatherings. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, also consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities that have close contact with others who aren’t fully vaccinated. Additional CDC guidance for people who are unvaccinated – How to Protect Yourself & Others | CDC
- If you’re fully vaccinated and have an underlying health condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you should keep taking steps to protect yourself, like wearing a mask and watching your distance. Talk to your healthcare provider about steps to take to manage your health and risks.
- If you’re traveling this summer, be aware of current COVID-19 hotspots – CDC COVID Data Tracker
- Continue to monitor your health and be on the alert for symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath and other symptoms of COVID-19. Whether you are fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, if you start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, separate yourself from others and get tested.
- Additional CDC guidance for people who are vaccinated – When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated | CDC
For more information, visit COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov or call the Health Department hotline at 402-441-8006.