South Heartland Health Department Risk Dial Down to 1.6

HASTINGS – On Wednesday evening, South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever reported the department and vaccination partners had administered more than 10,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the health district to date.

“This includes 6,842 primary doses and 3,486 booster doses,” Bever said. According to SHDHD, these totals do not include the doses provided to long term care facilities through the federal pharmacy program or the doses administered by retail pharmacies through a separate federal pharmacy program.

Bever said the department and area vaccine provider partners are still vaccinating individuals age 65+ who want the vaccine “This age group is at higher risk of complications and death from COVID-19, so we are urging this group to get vaccinated. As of our most recent reports, 63% of our residents age 65+ had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

Bever encouraged Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster county residents, who are age 65+ and who have not yet received the vaccine, to call the health department at 402-462-6211 to schedule an appointment with one of the approved COVID vaccine providers in the health district.

Bever said the majority of the K-12 school essential workers who want the vaccine will have had received their vaccine by the end of this week. “We are already scheduling child care providers in our counties, as well as essential workers in higher education. In addition, we are beginning to schedule essential workers from grocery stores and co-ops, and we are ramping up plans to begin vaccinating essential workers from food processing facilities over the next couple of weeks.”

Bever also reported the COVID-19 risk dial score dropped to 1.6 in moderate risk, from 1.7 the previous week.

“The average number of positive tests reported each day decreased to three per day, down from 5.6 per day the previous week,” Bever said. “In addition, the 14-day average of new daily cases decreased to 9.3 per 100,000 for the week ending March 6, and as of March 9 had dropped further to 8.8 per 100K per day,” she said.

“We were disappointed to see a rise in hospitalized cases in the past few days. On March 6 there were zero COVID patients in our hospitals, by March 9 there were four patients needing hospital care due to COVID-19,” Bever said. “We do have good news, however: for three weeks straight, no positive COVID tests were reported for residents or staff of long-term care facilities in our four-county health district.”

“We need to continue doing what’s working,” Bever said. “What’s working is avoiding the three Cs: avoid crowded places, avoid close contact, avoid confined spaces. We need to continue to wear masks that cover our noses and mouths, we need to stay home when we are sick, we need to disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects, we need to wash our hands, and we need to get the COVID vaccine when it is our turn,” she said.

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