South Heartland District Health Department Reports Over 100 in Students and Faculty in Quarantine; Risk Dial Remains About the Same

HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials 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 was 2.0 based on data gathered for last week, up from 1.9 the previous week,” said SHDHD executive director Michele Bever.

“We are concerned with the steady upward trend in positivity since our low of 1-2% in early June,” Bever said. “The positivity (percent positive tests) was 9.2% for the week ending September 5, which was up from 8.1% the previous week, and the rolling three-week positivity average was 8.5% (up from 6.9% the previous week).”  

According to Bever, SHDHD saw seven more lab confirmed COVID-19 cases reported last week compared to the previous week, a net increase of 33%. The three-week average net increase in positive COVID-19 tests was 18.6%.  

“Guidance for actions has not changed,” she said. “We are still essentially in yellow-orange at moderate/elevated risk, as we have been for the previous four weeks, and we encourage residents to continue to follow the level-specific recommendations for yellow/moderate risk and orange/elevated risk.” 

“Prevention is still critical. We continue to have new cases where the source of exposure is unknown (i.e., community spread) and we continue to see new positive tests and exposures in individuals associated with schools and colleges in our district,” Bever said. 

“We are tracking the impact of COVID-19 on the PreK-12 schools in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties,” Bever said. “Today, September 8, there are 97 students and seven (7) staff in quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. Five (5) students are in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19.” 

The levels of risk for COVID-19 spread are indicated on the risk dial as low (green), moderate (yellow), elevated (orange) and severe (red).  The COVID Risk Dial & Community Guidance can be found on SHDHD webpages at www.southheartlandhealth.org. The document includes recommendations for the general public and for at-risk and vulnerable individuals. It includes actions for home, at work and in public. 

South Heartland District case counts and trends can be found on SHDHD’s dashboard of local COVID-19 case statistics.  This dashboard, along with updates, guidance, news releases and other COVID-19 information and links can be found on the SHDHD website: www.southheartlandhealth.org. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on their Data Dashboard at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.

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