Gov Ricketts: “No lockdowns or mandates” following news of Omicron in Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Six cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected among residents in the Public Health Solutions District in Nebraska. The health district covers Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, and Thayer counties of southeast Nebraska.
According to the local health department, the first case was likely exposed during international travel to Nigeria. The person returned on Nov. 23 and became symptomatic on Nov. 24. PHS said the five remaining cases were likely exposed through household contact with the first case. Only one of the six people infected were vaccinated. So far, none have required hospitalization.
PHS said they are still conducting contract tracing. The patient self-identified their travel history, sought testing, and alerted PHS.
DHHS Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Donahue said, “The identification of Omicron reinforces the urgency for Nebraskans to get vaccinated. 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.”
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 had been undetected in the U.S. until the middle of this week. By the end of Thursday, the Omicron variant had been discovered in at least five states.
Following news that the Omicron variant had been identified in Nebraska, Gov. Ricketts issued a statement.
“In Nebraska, we have learned how to balance living a more normal life while protecting our healthcare system,” said Governor Ricketts. “Coronavirus will be with us forever. That’s why we’ll continue that balance while also urging everyone to get vaccinated. Nebraska has maintained one of the lowest coronavirus death rates and protected our hospital capacity all without lockdowns, without mask mandates, and without vaccine mandates. We aren’t going to follow the Biden Administration or Dr. Fauci’s draconian policies.”
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