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New COVID variant found in Cass County

New COVID variant found in Cass County

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PAPILLION—The Sarpy/Cass Health Department on Tuesday confirmed that the first case of the B.1.351 variant of COVID-19 has been identified in the health jurisdiction.

The contact investigation was initiated on Monday for the Cass County resident in his 70’s, the department said.

“This is a new variant, the first time we’ve seen it in our jurisdiction,” said Jenny Steventon, assistant health director. “This is the third variant of COVID-19 that we have identified here. The investigation is ongoing, so I do not have details about how this individual contracted COVID.”

As researchers learn more about the COVID-19 variants, it remains as important as ever to continue social distancing, wearing face masks when social distancing is not possible, and staying home while ill, added Sarah Schram, health director.

“If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you develop symptoms, get tested for the virus,” she said. “Residents are encouraged to complete the vaccine registration process at www.vaccinate.ne.gov and get the vaccine when it is available to you.”

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, however, has not yet authorized continuation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Steventon said.

“So as far as I know, no one in the community is providing that vaccine just yet,” she said.

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, there were 54 active COVID-19 cases in Cass County with 16 deaths tied to the virus, according to the department.

In the two-county area, there have been a total of 115,532 vaccinations administered with 32.2 percent of the population 16 and older fully vaccinated, the department said.

The area also remains in the moderate range for catching the virus.

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