South Heartland District Health Department Expecting 800 First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine this Week; Positivity Increases to 10.2%

HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials are expecting to receive 800 ‘first doses’ of Moderna vaccine this week. Executive director Michele Bever said the allotment was 200 more doses than the prior week.

“These doses will be allocated out to our vaccine providers in each county. Our focus again this week will be individuals age 65+ and continuing to use the reverse age approach, starting with the oldest and expanding downward,” she said. “Approximately 90% of the doses will go to elderly and about 10% will be administered to any remaining health workers who were eligible under Phase 1A, as well as some of the prioritized essential workers in Phase 1B.”

Individuals age 65+ may register on the state vaccine registration system, called VRAS. The sign-up tool can be accessed through SHDHD’s website, “Just click on the red ribbon at the top of the homepage to get to the vaccine information page, then click on the picture of the vaccine to start the registration process.” Bever said.

Individuals needing assistance with registration, are encouraged to ask a family member or friend for help or may 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 registered individuals will be notified when it is their turn to schedule an appointment. Prioritized essential workers can expect to be notified through their worksites when vaccine is available for them.

Bever said approximately 340 second (booster) doses of Moderna vaccine would be administered this week. “It will take time to get to all of the people in each priority group who want the vaccine. Everyone in each priority group can be vaccinated as soon as there are enough vaccines available in our district,” she said.

SHDHD also reported 30 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past three days (January 30 – February 1), averaging 10 new cases per day and bringing the cumulative number of cases in the four-county health district to 4,308. The new confirmed cases for the three-day period include: 17 in Adams, 6 in Clay, and 7 in Nuckolls. By county, the new cumulative totals are: 2,814 cases in Adams, 700 cases in Clay, 461 cases in Nuckolls, and 333 cases in Webster.

Bever said testing was down last week, likely due to the weather. SHDHD received 155 fewer test results than the previous week, at 850 tests compared to 1005 tests. Weekly positivity for the health district increased to 10.2% compared to 8.9% the week before. By county, the positivity for the week ending January 30 was 10.5% in Adams, 10.4% in Clay, 12% in Nuckolls, and 7.2% in Webster.

While waiting their turn for the vaccine, Bever encouraged residents to continue practicing the 3Cs: avoid crowded spaces, avoid close contact and avoid confined spaces. “We will need to use ALL the tools we have, including the vaccine, to help stop the pandemic.”

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