HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever reported the COVID-19 risk dial score increased to 1.8 in moderate risk, up from 1.7 the previous week. The four-county health district includes Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties in south central Nebraska.
“We are coming off of another week with increased average daily cases and increased positivity,” Bever said. According to Bever, the number of cases increased to an average of 4.1 positive tests per day compared to 3.4 per day the previous week. Overall positivity increased to 4.1%, up from 3.1% the previous week, and the general community positivity increased to 10%, up from 9.4% the previous week.
“As a reminder, our goal is for community positivity to be sustained at or below 5%,” she said. The community positivity calculation does not include results from required resident and staff testing at long term care facilities, which Bever said yielded no positives last week.
Bever said the four-county area is still in moderate risk for spread of COVID-19. “We are encouraging residents in the eligible age groups to register for a COVID-19 vaccine and get their shots. Vaccination and practicing prevention are important for reducing virus spread and keeping our communities from seeing another surge in cases.”
To date, 45% of South Heartland residents eligible for a vaccine have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 32% of eligible residents have completed their 1 or 2 dose series and will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the final dose of the series.
“Our residents age 65+ are doing a great job, with 67% of this age group fully vaccinated and another 5% that have received their first dose,” Bever said. “Those in younger age groups are lagging behind, in part because they became eligible for vaccine more recently. We are encouraging them to make appointments to get their shots.”
According to the SHDHD’s vaccine dashboard, only 29% of residents age 55-64 years old are fully vaccinated, but another 23% have had their first shot. Of those age 45-54 years, 21% are fully vaccinated and another 16% have had their first shot. Of residents age 35-44 years, 23% are fully vaccinated and 13% had their first shot. Of residents age 20-44 years, 15% are fully vaccinated and 9% have had their first shot. Of residents age 16-19 years, 5% are fully vaccinated and another 4% have had their first shot.
Residents may register for vaccine and schedule an appointment on the state vaccine registration and administration system, vaccinate.ne.gov. This site can also be reached by clicking on the red ribbon at the top of the SHDHD website home page at southheartlandhealth.org, and clicking on the picture of the vaccine to start the vaccine registration process in the Nebraska vaccine registration portal. Those needing assistance with registration should contact the NE State Vaccine hotline at 833-998-2275. Individuals 60 and over can contact Midland Area Agency on Aging for assistance with vaccine registration at 402-463-4565 Extension – 499.
“Help us ‘finish strong’ in South Heartland by practicing prevention and getting your COVID-19 vaccine,” Bever said.
SHDHD’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard tracks progress on COVID-19 vaccinations in the four-county district. Other vaccine information and updates, along with links to the Nebraska COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and vaccine priority recommendations, are available on SHDHD’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage. The levels of risk for COVID-19 spread are indicated on the risk dial as low (0-1.0, green), moderate (1.0-2.0, yellow), elevated (2.0-3.0, orange) and severe (3.0-4.0, red). The COVID Risk Dial & Community Guidance can be found on SHDHD webpages at www.southheartlandhealth.org. South Heartland District case counts and trends can be found on SHDHD’s dashboard of local COVID-19 case statistics. This dashboard, along with updates, guidance, news releases and other COVID-19 information and links can be found on the SHDHD website: www.southheartlandhealth.org. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on their Data Dashboard at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.