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Omicron variant arrives in Central Health district

Omicron has been detected in the Central health district.
Omicron has been detected in the Central health district.(Source: CDC via AP)
Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 12:47 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Central District Health Department announced Friday that the first confirmed case of community transmission of the omicron variant has been detected.

CDHD said the positive sequencing test was detected in an unvaccinated healthcare worker with no history of travel.

Initial research shows the highly transmissible omicron variant may produce milder symptoms than previous variants.

As people are gathering indoors for the holidays, the concern is omicron will spread more easily. Hospitals in Nebraska continue to be near or at capacity with COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of which are unvaccinated.

Vaccines are known to both greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect from the most serious symptoms, which can lead to hospitalization and death. Although breakthrough infections are expected to increase with the omicron variant, those who are vaccinated have a much higher level of protection than those who are not.

CDHD continues to stress the importance of a layered approach of prevention. In addition to being fully vaccinated, protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 over the Christmas holiday by using these layers of protection:

-Stay home and away from other household members if you are sick

-Get tested if you have symptoms

-Wear a mask when you are inside and/or close to strangers

-Wash your hands often

-If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, get tested before being around others

Both COVID-19 testing and vaccinations will resume at CDHD on Monday, December 27. NOMI offers both rapid antigen testing with results in an hour for those with symptoms of COVID-19, and PCR testing with results back in 24-36 hours.

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