HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever reported 27 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past three days (Tuesday – Thursday) for a new cumulative total of 4,389. The confirmed cases for the three-day period include: 16 in Adams, 4 in Clay, 6 in Nuckolls and 1 in Webster. By county, the cumulative case counts are: 2,854 cases in Adams, 716 cases in Clay, 483 cases in Nuckolls, and 336 cases in Webster.
“We averaged just 9 cases per day over the last 3 days, which continues to move in the right direction toward low community spread levels,” Bever said. “We need to continue to help the COVID-19 case numbers decline by using all of the tools recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” Bever said. “This is particularly important with the threat of COVID-19 infections from new variants that have spread to the United States from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.”
Bever said these recommendations include wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, keeping at least six feet away from others you don’t live with, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly-ventilated spaces, washing your hands often, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it is your turn.
Over 3900 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the health district since mid-December. “We are getting vaccine into arms within a week of receiving it. Our focus this week continues to be individuals age 65+ but also vaccinating some prioritized essential workers,” she said. Bever encouraged residents who are interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine, especially those in the current priority group age 65+, to register for the vaccine.
To register, click on the red ribbon at the top of the SHDHD home page at southheartlandhealth.org to get to the most up to date information on COVID-19 vaccine and local vaccine distribution information. Next, click on the picture of the vaccine to start your vaccine registration in the Nebraska vaccine registration and administration (VRAS) system. If you need assistance with registration, please ask a family member or friend to assist you or contact the NE State Vaccine hotline at 833-998-2275 to register. Individuals 60 and over can contact Midland Area Agency on Aging for assistance with vaccine registration at 402-463-4565 Extension – 499.
Bever said pharmacies participating in the new Federal Retail Pharmacy program launched this week will be coordinating with the local health departments per new state-directed health measures (DHM) which require COVID-19 vaccine received through that program to only be administered to persons sixty-five (65) years old and older. The DHM also requires participating pharmacies to coordinate COVID-19 vaccination schedules with the local health department where the pharmacy is located. “We are glad to have the additional vaccine coming into our district through this program, but it is still not enough to make much headway in meeting the local demand,” Bever said.
She encouraged residents to be patient. “With the limited amounts of vaccine coming out and large numbers of residents wanting the vaccine, it could be many weeks or longer before you are contacted after you register,” she said. “Everyone in each phase will be vaccinated as soon as there are enough vaccines available.”