South Heartland District Health Department Reports 41 Percent of Eligible Residents are Vaccinated

HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials reported 41 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past seven days (May 2 – May 8), bringing the cumulative number of cases in the four-county health district to 4,885. The new confirmed cases for the seven-day period were 32 in Adams County, 6 in Clay County, and 3 in Webster County. By county, the new cumulative totals are: 3,150 cases in Adams, 772 cases in Clay, 548 cases in Nuckolls, and 415 cases in Webster.

SHDHD executive director Michele Bever also reported on overall positivity (number of positive tests divided by the number of tests performed). In the health district for the week ending May 8, COVID-19 testing was down to only 411 tests, almost 200 fewer tests than the previous week. “If we look only at community testing, the positivity is 14.8%, up slightly from 14.1% the previous week and significantly above our goal to maintain at or below 5% community positivity,” Bever said. “In addition, after an 11-week streak of 0% positivity in long-term care facilities, we had a 3.5% positivity for the week ending May 8.”

By county, the community positivity is 12.2% in Adams down from 14.1% the week before, 33.3% in Clay County up from 23.3% the week before, 20% in Webster County, up from 7.7% the week before, and maintaining at 0% in Nuckolls County.

Bever also reported the 14-day average of daily new cases was 9.0 per 100,000, exceeding the District’s goal of 8 per 100,000. Bever said this metric had hovered above the target for 24 of the last 30 days.

“The virus is still spreading in our communities, including the B.117 variant first identified in the United Kingdom. So far, we’ve had a total of four confirmed COVID-19 cases in our district attributed to the B.117 variant,” Bever said. “We are encouraging residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they have the opportunity because each additional person getting vaccinated brings our communities that much closer to having safer, more normal activities.”

To date, 47% of South Heartland residents eligible for a vaccine have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 41% of eligible residents have completed their 1 or 2 dose series and will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the final dose of the series.  Over seventy-six percent of residents age 65+ are fully vaccinated.

“These vaccines are safe and highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Bever said. “In fact, only a very small number of residents have tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, amounting to less than 0.1% of South Heartland’s fully vaccinated residents.”

South Heartland’s goal is for more than 70% of residents to be vaccinated to provide protection against the spread of the virus in communities across the district. “There is plenty of COVID-19 vaccine available for people ages 18+ in our four counties and soon there will be vaccine available for anyone ages 12 years and older,” Bever said.

“In South Heartland’s four-county health district, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine through many local health care providers, at weekly community vaccine clinics, and at several pharmacies, including Bert’s Pharmacy, Walmart, and Walgreens in Hastings, Superior Pharmacy in Superior and, beginning this Friday, at Russ’s Pharmacy in Hastings,” she said. “Contact SHDHD at 402-462-6211, if you need assistance finding this free vaccine.”

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