HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever reported eleven new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past three days (Tuesday – Thursday) for a new cumulative total of 4,489. Confirmed cases for the three-day period include: six in Adams and three in Clay, one in Nuckolls, and one in Webster. By county, the cumulative case counts are: 2,924 cases in Adams, 724 cases in Clay, 497 cases in Nuckolls, and 344 cases in Webster.
“We averaged four COVID positive tests per day over the last seven days, which is a decrease over the previous seven days when we averaged 5.6 per day,” Bever said. “This is very good news.”
Bever noted the department had updated counts of hospitalized South Heartland residents on SHDHD’s COVID-19 dashboard. “Based on reports we received this week, we added seventeen hospitalizations since the last update on January 22. Since November, the downward trend in South Heartland residents needing hospital care due to COVID-19 is something to celebrate. In November, 52 residents were reported hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications. This number was cut in half to 25 hospitalized residents in December, then 21 residents in January and only 12 residents in February,” she said.
Bever also remarked on the current hospital capacity metrics on the South Heartland Hospital Data dashboard. “Only 2.4% of the hospital inpatients are COVID positive, 55% of the ICU beds are available, and there is only one COVID positive patient in our hospitals,” she said.
“It is still very important to practice prevention, to get tested if you have symptoms, and to plan to get the vaccine when it is your turn so that we can keep our schools and businesses open, our hospitals able to care for those who need it, and our worksites safe for employees,” Bever said.
Any resident may register for a COVID vaccine by clicking on the red ribbon at the top of the SHDHD home page at southheartlandhealth.org. Next, click on the picture of the vaccine to start your vaccine registration in the Nebraska vaccine registration and administration (VRAS) system. Those needing assistance with registration should contact the Nebraska State Vaccine hotline at 833-998-2275.
Bever said the health department and their partner vaccine providers in each county are using the registration lists from the state registration system to schedule appointments. “We, and our partners, are calling people on the lists to get them scheduled for their COVID-19 shots. To date, about 60% of residents age 65+ are vaccinated against COVID-19. So, as we continue to work our way through these long lists, we are now reaching many people who already received their vaccine,” Bever said.
“If you are age 65+ and you live in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls or Webster county, you are registered for the vaccine and you have not yet received a call to schedule your shot, we are asking you to please contact the health department at 402-462-6211. We will help get you scheduled with one of the approved vaccine provider partners in our district,” she said.
“The 65+ age group is at higher risk of complications and death from COVID-19, so we are urging these residents to get vaccinated when they are offered an appointment to get a COVID shot, Bever said.”