HASTINGS – On Wednesday, September 15, South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever announced a COVID-19 Advisory for Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties due to sustained high community transmission of COVID-19 in the four-county health district.
“The number of new confirmed cases reported for our counties continues to climb each week. Positivity (percent positive tests) remains well above the 10% threshold for the district overall, as well as for each of the four counties individually. This indicates we have high community transmission,” Bever said. “The advisory serves as a way to notify the public about the high community transmission and the risk of COVID-19 exposure within the health district. This advisory will be in effect through the end of September and may be extended, if transmission remains high,” she said.
In the department’s weekly Tuesday evening COVID-19 update, Bever reported SHDHD’s overall weekly positivity (percent positive tests) was 17.4% (high transmission) for the week ending September 11. By county, positivity was 17.2% in Adams, 18.3% in Clay, 12.0% in Nuckolls and 25% in Webster. More than 10% positivity is considered high community transmission; below 5% positivity is considered low community transmission
The district, overall, had logged 214 new cases (equating to 473.4 new cases per 100,000 people) in the past seven days ending Tuesday night. More than 100 new cases per 100K population in seven days is considered high community transmission; low community transmission is under 10 new cases per 100K in seven days.
“In addition to seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases in the general public, we have started to see cases being reported in staff and residents of long-term care facilities in our district. We had a span of about 15 weeks where the positivity was zero in our nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We are seeing that the high community transmission is beginning to impact health and safety in these facilities. As of today, we are aware of at least 6 facilities that have staff or residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.”
Bever said the health department is recommending using layers of prevention to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. “We know what we can do to stay healthy – we need to use as many layers of prevention as we can, in as many places as we can,” she said. “Those layers of prevention that should be considered include: avoiding crowded places, avoiding confined indoor spaces, staying home when you have symptoms, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, keeping 6 feet distance from others, and getting fully vaccinated.”
The health department maintains lists of locations offering COVID-testing and COVID-19 vaccination in the South Heartland District. The lists may be viewed at: southheartlandhealth.org. In addition, many health care providers in the district are offering COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. Bever encourages residents to contact their personal doctor or the health department if they have questions about the vaccine. Contact South Heartland District Health Department at 402-462-6211 or 877-238-7595.