HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials are reporting the thirteenth and fourteenth coronavirus COVID-19-related deaths of previously reported cases. SHDHD does not report deaths until the department receives notification regarding cause of death on the death certificate.
SHDHD Executive Director Michele Bever reported that both deaths were Adams County residents. One was a man in his 70s with underlying medical conditions and no known exposure to a positive case. The other was a man in his 60s with underlying medical conditions who was hospitalized. “We extend our sincere condolences to the families of both individuals for the loss of their family members to COVID-19,” she said.
Bever said South Heartland area hospitals were averaging 46% ICU bed availability as of Monday (10/5). As of Wednesday morning, there were seven (7) patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, three (3) requiring critical care, and one (1) ventilator in use.
There were 101 students and staff out from PreK-12 schools in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties on Tuesday, including 81 students and nine (9) staff in quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, and eleven (11) individuals (5 students, 6 staff) in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19.
Bever also reported the weekly update to SHDHD’s COVID-19 Risk Dial, which is a summary of current COVID-19 conditions in the South Heartland District. “Our health district COVID-19 risk summary score moved from 2.3 to 2.4, continuing in “elevated risk”, she said. “Of note, we had a 50% net increase in positive cases last week compared to the week before, the eighth week in a row with more cases than the previous week.”
“COVID-19 can be a severe disease and I urge residents to take it seriously. Please take steps to protect others and yourselves, everywhere you go, in everything you do,” Bever said. “The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is circulating in our district at increasingly higher levels.”
“The virus takes advantage of our social interactions – this is how it spreads. In fact, while some people have moderate symptoms and feel ill for a couple of weeks, and others have severe symptoms and require hospitalization, many people can have very mild, allergy-like symptoms, or no symptoms at all (asymptomatic), and are able to spread the virus to others unknowingly and unintentionally. The virus will have the upper hand if we let it and, unfortunately, we are trending in that direction,” Bever said.
The risk dial is one tool public health uses to communicate risk of coronavirus spread. Bever encouraged residents to review and use the Risk Dial Guidance for the “elevated” level of risk in order to help reduce the spread of the virus.