HASTINGS – South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials reported on COVID-19 vaccination status in the four-county health district. Executive director Michele Bever stated that twenty-six percent of South Heartland residents had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, which provides protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“Our district has approximately 45,200 residents and nearly 12,000 of them have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” she said. “By county, 25% of Adams County residents, 28% of Clay County residents, 27% of Nuckolls County residents, and 30% of Webster County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.”
To be fully vaccinated means that it has been at least 2 weeks after receiving the second dose of the 2-dose series (Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccines), OR at least 2 weeks after receiving the single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). Bever said 15% of the district’s population had either received both doses of a 2-dose series or had received the single dose vaccine, but not all of these individuals could be considered fully vaccinated if they had received their last vaccine dose within the past 2 weeks.
“By county, 13% of Adams County residents, 17% of Clay County residents, 21% of Nuckolls County residents, and 19.5% of Webster County residents have received both doses of a 2-dose series or received the single dose vaccine and are either fully vaccinated or will be considered fully vaccinated within the next two weeks,” Bever said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released recommendations for fully vaccinated people. Those fully vaccinated may visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. They may also visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease without wearing masks/face coverings or physical distancing. However, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in public like wearing masks and physical distancing.
“Avoiding the three Cs still applies. Avoid crowded places, close contact, and confined spaces,” Bever said. “It is still important to wear masks that cover our noses and mouths, to stay home when we are sick, to disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects, to wash our hands, to get tested if we have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and to get the COVID vaccine when it is our turn,” she said
Bever also reported sixteen new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past three days (Tuesday – Thursday) for a new cumulative total of 4,577. Confirmed cases for the three-day period include: 13 in Adams, two in Clay, and one in Nuckolls. By county, the cumulative totals are: 2,978 in Adams, 748 in Clay, 503 in Nuckolls, and 348 in Webster.
Bever encouraged everyone in the eligible age groups to register for a COVID vaccine by clicking on the red ribbon at the top of the SHDHD website home page at southheartlandhealth.org. Next, click on the picture of the vaccine to complete the vaccine registration process in the Nebraska vaccine registration and administration (VRAS) system.
Bever said SHDHD is continuing to work with Nebraska DHHS to adopt the scheduling function of the state’s vaccine registration and administration system, VRAS, which will allow local vaccine providers to replace the manual scheduling process they are using now. In the meantime, Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster county residents who are eligible and want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but who have not yet received a call or email to schedule an appointment, may contact their health care provider or may contact the health department at 402-462-6211 to be scheduled with an approved COVID-vaccine provider.