HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials reported 9 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past four days (April 2 – April 5), bringing the cumulative number of cases in the four-county health district to 4,606. The new confirmed cases for the four-day period were eight in Adams County and one in Clay County. By county, the new cumulative totals are: 3,003 cases in Adams, 751 cases in Clay, 505 cases in Nuckolls, and 347 cases in Webster. One case previously attributed to Webster County was determined to reside in another health district.
Overall positivity (number of positive tests divided by the number of tests conducted) in the health district for the week ending April 3, decreased to 2.9% compared to 5% the week before. “We are able to report again this week that our long-term care facilities had zero positive tests in staff or residents for the 7th week in a row,” she said. “If we look only at community testing, the positivity is 7.3%, down from 11.6% the previous week. Our goal is to reach 5% positivity or below and to sustain it there.”
“Prevention continues to be important to protect ourselves and others from severe COVID-19 illness,” Bever said. “This includes physical distancing, wearing masks that cover our noses and mouths, and scheduling the COVID vaccine when it is our turn,” she said.
Bever reported that 20% of South Heartland residents had received a complete vaccine series, which means two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or a single dose of the Janssen J&J vaccine.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated their guidance for domestic travel during COVID-19,” Bever said. “Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. The CDC says that people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States and do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it. However, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated travelers still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely, including to wear a mask over your nose and mouth, stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds, and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer,” she said.
The CDC also recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Bever encourages residents in the eligible age groups to register for a COVID vaccine 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, where site visitors can find current information about the vaccine and vaccine roll out in South Heartland. Next, click on the picture of the vaccine to start your vaccine registration on 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.
“Prevention continues to be important to protect ourselves and others from severe COVID-19 illness,” Bever said. “Help us ‘finish strong’ in South Heartland by practicing prevention and getting your COVID-19 vaccine.”