Nebraska tweaks virus rules for people who had COVID-19
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska residents who have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in the last three months are no longer required to quarantine if they get exposed to the virus again, but they’ll still have to wear a mask in public, state officials said Monday.
Officials plan to update the state’s public health requirements this week to match new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Felicia Quintana-Zinn, an administrator with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Previously, people who were exposed to the virus were required by the state’s health directives to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
“If you have a positive test result that shows you’ve got the antibodies and you’ve been exposed, then you don’t have to quarantine like you normally would,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said at a news conference. “But you still have to wear a mask in public.”
Twenty-nine percent of Nebraska residents age 16 or older have been fully vaccinated, according to the state’s online tracking portal. As of Monday, there were 168 people hospitalized with the virus in the state, a figure that has risen in recent weeks but is substantially lower the record highs of mid-November, when nearly 1,000 were hospitalized.
The state has confirmed 214,351 cases and 2,221 deaths since the pandemic began. State officials have also identified a small number of variant strains in Nebraska that are potentially more dangerous, including 187 cases of the so-called United Kingdom variant that is considered more contagious and causes more severe symptoms.
They’ve also discovered two known cases of the so-called Brazil strain, which is thought to spread more easily than the more common strain.
Nebraska has opened vaccinations up to all residents who are at least 16 years old through local pharmacies, health care clinics and other providers.
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