Travel, large gatherings spreading COVID Delta variant in area

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

McCOOK, Neb. -- Travel and large gatherings are helping to spread the Delta variant of the COVID virus, and people who have had the original virus should not county on immunity, according to the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department

Confirmed positive cases in vaccinated persons were sent to the Nebraska Public Health Lab for sequencing to find out if they were caused by a variant of COVID-19, according to an SWNPHD release.

“Over 90% of the COVID cases in vaccinated persons in Nebraska so far have been from variants, and most of these cases have had mild illness. Persons who had COVID-19 last fall and are not currently vaccinated may not have an immunity to the Delta variant.”

All three COVID vaccines approved for use in the United States provide protection against severe illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19. All currently hospitalized cases of COVID-19 in the health district are in unvaccinated people aged 20 to 49. Researchers have found no evidence that having had COVID-19 before offers any protection against being reinfected with one of the variant strains.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is the most effective method to prevent another wave of pandemic. SWNPHD is concentrating on vaccinating children aged 12 and older before the start of the school year.

“The point of vaccinating is to protect these children; herd immunity is a bonus,” said Dr Kari Simonsen of Children’s Hospital in Omaha.

“The risks of COVID outweigh the risks of vaccine side effects, and we strongly recommend getting your children vaccinated. COVID was one of the top ten causes of death of 12- to 15-year-olds in the US in 2020. We wouldn’t not try to prevent any of these other top ten causes of death, such as motor vehicle accidents, and COVID is no different.”

Vaccine is available in SW Nebraska in the following areas:

Chase County: Adams Drug, Chase County Clinic

Dundy County: Quality Care Clinic

Red Willow County: SW Nebraska Public Health Department, Red Willow County Health, Farrell’s Pharmacy, U Save Pharmacy and Walmart Pharmacy

Furnas County: Mark’s Pharmacy and Tri-Valley Health Systems.

Call these locations to get your vaccine.

SWNPHD also strongly encourages using the recommended precautions of frequent handwashing, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth if you are not vaccinated, staying home if you are sick, and staying away from others that may be sick. Avoid enclosed crowded spaces or gatherings. If you do participate in large gatherings and are unvaccinated, the recommendation is to wear a mask. When traveling, state and local recommendations vary. Always follow all recommended guidelines from TSA and the country of travel, which can be found at and

COVID-19 information can be found at You can also follow SWNPHD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

SWNPHD serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins, and Red Willow counties. SWNPHD is located at 404 West 10th St (1 block north of Arby’s) in McCook and can be reached by calling 308-345-4223.

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