HASTINGS – On Tuesday evening, South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever gave a weekly COVID-19 update for the health district, which encompasses Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties.
Bever reported the department logged just two confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past week, averaging 0.29 cases per day, same as the previous week. The new cumulative total is 4,921 confirmed cases. One new case was in Clay County and one was in Adams County. By county the cumulative totals are 3,180 in Adams County, 776 in Clay County, 548 in Nuckolls County and 417 in Webster County.
“We are glad to report some more good news with respect to newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our district,” Bever said. “The 14-day rolling average of daily new cases dropped further to an average of 0.5 cases per day per 100,000 population, remaining below our goal for 19 days in a row.” The department’s goal is to reach and sustain at or below 8 new cases per day per 100,000 population.
Bever said COVID-19 testing has also continued to drop, with only 187 tests conducted in South Heartland residents last week. She said forty-one percent of the tests were general community members, i.e., not associated with long-term care staff or residents. The percent positive tests for the general community remained low at 1.3% and for residents and staff tested in long term care facilities there were no positive tests for the week ending May 5.
Bever also reported hospital capacity remained excellent, with 55% of intensive care unit beds available and only one patient hospitalized due to COVID-19. She said with the case numbers and positivity metrics continuing to improve, South Heartland’s risk dial needle dropped further within the yellow moderate zone to 1.3.
“However, the vaccination rate metric hasn’t had much movement over the past two weeks, which is disappointing. Evidence shows the vaccines are very effective in reducing severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by the original version of the virus and the variants, so we are continuing to encourage residents to get their COVID-19 shots,” Bever said.
“To further reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in our communities, and especially to protect against severe illness caused by the virus or its variants, we are promoting a goal of 70% or more of South Heartland residents to have received at least one dose of vaccine. Anyone age 12 and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.
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 products are offered at each site. All three vaccine products – Pfizer BioNTech, J&J Janssen, and Moderna – are available in the health district.
“This list is updated frequently to include new times, dates, whether walk-ins are accepted, and how to make an appointment at each site. In addition, there are health care providers in the district who are offering COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. We encourage residents to contact the health department at 402-462-6211 or 877-238-7595 for more information or assistance in scheduling their COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.