Douglas County Health Director COVID-19 update includes breakthrough case data

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Douglas County Health Director gave an update on the local COVID-19 response on Tuesday, noting increasing cases and data about breakthrough cases in the county.

Dr. Lindsay Huse said about 0.54% of the 306,736 people in Douglas County have experienced a breakthrough COVID-19 infection.

“Really what that’s telling you is that the vaccine is doing a really great job of keeping people healthy,” Dr. Huse told the Douglas County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. “When people do catch COVID, even if they’ve been vaccinated, (those) cases are extremely mild. In general, it’s keeping people out of the hospital and keeping people off of ventilators; and most importantly, it’s keeping people alive.”

The county health director said the numbers now are a little worse than last year at this same time, but that we’re also fighting a different COVID war than we were a year ago.

“I think we have a lot of tools that are available to us now that we didn’t have last year,” Dr. Huse said. “We didn’t have a vaccine last year. We were seeing our elderly population struggling mightily with fighting this virus. We’re not having necessarily that same fight. Unfortunately, the virus now is starting to impact younger populations, so the fight is being taken to kind of this new ground that we’re having to look at.”

Dr. Huse said the county is experiencing its fourth wave.

“The fact is, school just got started two weeks ago. We’ve had our first big round of football games the past weekend. Luckily, you’re outside, but even when you’re in those congregant settings, you can still have spread,” she said, noting lots of other school activities and community events are also prompting gatherings.

She said the health department would be keeping close watch on the data and continuing to encourage the community to use those tools they know work to mitigate community spread: masking, hand-washing, social distancing, and vaccinations.

“It’s altogether possible that this is a blip, and we’ll continue to see an increase — and that just makes it even more important that we continue to use those mitigation factors that we have to help limit the spread,” Dr. Huse said.

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