HASTINGS – On Wednesday evening, South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever gave a COVID-19 update for the health district, which encompasses Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties.
Bever said the COVID-19 Risk Dial remains in yellow, indicating a continued moderate level of COVID-19 transmission in the health district. “For the week ending May 15, our 14-day average of daily cases was 10 per 100,000 per day, above our goal of 8 cases per day per 100,000, and the test positivity in the community was 11.8%, decreased from the week before, but still in the elevated range. Our goal for weekly positivity is a sustained level at or below 5%,” Bever said.
Bever also reported sequencing analysis to date had identified sixteen COVID-19-positive South Heartland residents who were infected with the B.1.1.7 variant, including one in Nuckolls County, one in Clay County, four in Webster County and ten in Adams County. “The B.1.1.7 variant has higher transmissibility, meaning it spreads more easily from person to person, and it can cause more severe illness,” she said.
“The good news continues to be that COVID-19 vaccines are effective in protecting against severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 and the variants,” Bever said. “Anyone age 12 and older is eligible for the vaccine. Up to now, 40% of all South Heartland residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and seventy-nine percent of our residents ages 65+ are fully vaccinated.”
“We have some distance to cover to meet the goal of 70% or more of our residents having received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine,” she said. “We are encouraging people to get the vaccine so that they are able to do more activities safely, including traveling and gathering. We are also continuing to recommend that residents practice prevention to protect themselves and their loved ones, as well as their employees, customers, clients, and any others they might be around, especially if they are not yet fully vaccinated.”
Bever said SHDHD’s vaccine webpage (https://southheartlandhealth.org/public-health-data/covid-19-vaccine-information.html) includes a list of locations offering vaccine in the South Heartland District and which vaccine(s) – Pfizer, Moderna and/or J&J – are offered at each site. “This list will be updated frequently to include new times, dates and how to make an appointment at each site. In addition, there are several health care providers in the district who are offering COVID-19 vaccine to their patients,” she said. Residents may contact the health department at 402-462-6211 or 877-238-7595 for more information.