Tri-City health departments worried about Delta variant despite low hospitalization numbers

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - COVID-19 hospitalizations are down significantly with just seven patients across all of the Tri-Cities. Even with lower numbers, local health departments are now concerned about the spread of the new delta variant making its way through the state.

Central District Health Department only has one COVID hospital patient in their entire district, but cases of the virus have doubled in the last week.

“It probably is the Delta variant because that’s 85% of the cases in Nebraska right now,” Director Teresa Anderson told Local4 News. “The problem with the Delta variant is it’s about 40% more transmissible so it moves through the population very quickly.”

The department is working to further test their positive cases to see if it is in delta.

Over in Kearney, Two Rivers Public Health Department is also working to determine if it’s in their area.

“At this point in time, we don’t have a confirmed delta variant in our district, but it is in close proximity,” TRPHD Director Jeremy Eschliman.

With the state having virtually no restrictions anymore, health experts are concerned people won’t be taking this new variant seriously.

“What we think we see right now is that folks are just tired of it and they just want it to go away, but it won’t go away if we ignore it,” Anderson said. “If we ignore it, it’s likely to become a powerful force in our community.”

“Right now we are definitely encouraging anyone not vaccinated yet or fully vaccinated,” Eschliman said. “It’s just so important to take those steps to protect you and your family.”

With school returning next month, they say this is a good time to get children vaccinated.

“We can get most of the middle school and high school students vaccinated,” Anderson said. “The trick is if they get their first vaccine this week, it’ll be three weeks before they can get their next vaccine and then two weeks before they’re fully protected. That brings us to right when school starts up.”

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