The Superior Express -

Nuckolls Co. COVID-19 positivity rate down to 2.7%

 

January 7, 2021



Monday evening South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials reported 157 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past seven days (December 29 – January 4), averaging 22.4 new cases per day and bringing the cumulative number of cases in the four-county health district to 3,826.  

The new confirmed cases for the seven-day period include: 112 in Adams, 36 in Clay, 4 in Nuckolls and 5 in Webster. By county, the new cumulative totals are: 2,514 cases in Adams, 618 cases in Clay, 391 cases in Nuckolls, and 303 cases in Webster.  

Michele Bever, SHDHD executive director, reported the district’s weekly positivity (percent COVID-19-positive tests out of all tests conducted in the week) had increased for the second week in a row after a low of 9.3 percent on Dec. 19.  By county, the positivity was 18.8 percent in Adams, 12.8 percent in Clay, 2.7 percent in Nuckolls, and 7.3 percent in Webster.   

Bever also said COVID testing was down last week compared to three weeks ago. “Clay County was only down by 6 percent, but Adams County was down by 25 percent and Nuckolls and Webster counties were down by 43 percent,” she said. “I am not surprised by the decreased testing, coming off of two holiday weeks, and this could be impacting the positivity.” 

“We lost some ground these past two weeks and we can’t let up on COVID prevention as we head into the new year,” Bever said.  “We must continue practicing the 3Cs: avoid crowded spaces, avoid close contact and avoid confined spaces. Will need to use all the tools we have, including the vaccine, to help stop the pandemic.” 

Bever reported a cumulative total of 895 individuals had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine administered by vaccinators at SHDHD, Brodstone Memorial Hospital, Mary Lanning Healthcare, Clay County Health Department and Webster County Community Hospital.  Bever said the district is working through the Phase 1A priority groups according to Nebraska’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.

“Phase 1A vaccination is for health care personnel who provide direct patient care and those who may be exposed to infectious materials. This includes staff at hospitals, home health care, pharmacies, EMS, primary care, dental, optometrists, outpatient providers, mental health providers, and public health,” she said. “It also includes long term care facility residents and staff, as well as organizations serving individuals with developmental disabilities.” 

According to Nebraska’s plan, Phase 1A will continue until the district has received enough doses to vaccinate the 1A priority groups. Bever said vaccine allocations are determined by state-level planners and SHDHD is informed less than a week in advance whether, and how much, vaccine will come to the district the next week. 

After Phase 1A priority groups have been offered vaccine, the health district will move to Phase 1B, which focuses on individuals 75 years of age or older and essential critical infrastructure workforce. The priority groups for Phase 1C include persons age 65-74 years and medically-vulnerable individuals.  

As of Tuesday morning, 36,253 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to those in Phase 1A priority group, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Phase 1A includes frontline health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

First doses have been given to roughly a third of the state’s health care population thus far, and continue to be targeted for hospital staff and health care workers providing direct patient care, as well as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and those who will be vaccinating priority groups in the coming months. Vaccinations for residents and staff of long-term care facilities began last week, with more than 100 on-site clinics held and additional outreach done by local health departments and community centers.

Though winter weather delayed shipments last week, more than 86,000 vaccine doses were received in Nebraska in the month of December. Of this supply, 63,000 doses were targeted for health care workers and 23,000 for residents and staff of long-term care facilities. In addition, the first shipment of second doses has now been received.

Additional vaccine shipments are scheduled to arrive this week, including 11,200 Moderna doses targeted for health care workers and 11,700 Pfizer doses designated for the federal pharmacy program to continue vaccination for residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

Planning is ongoing for future phases of the vaccination effort. Phase 1B is projected to begin later this month as supplies are made available. Phase 1B will begin with doses for those aged 75 and older, and be followed by workers in critical industries who are unable to work remotely. Vaccinations for the 75 and older population will be given via clinics led by local health departments, health care providers and pharmacies. DHHS will announce additional details in the weeks to come.

More detail on Phase 1A and 1B priority groups and other information is available by clicking the vaccine information tab on the DHHS Coronavirus site, http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx.

DHHS has launched a COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard to share how Nebraska’s vaccination effort is progressing over time.

It provides a daily total of first and second dose vaccinations given, as well as breakdown of doses given by age, gender, race and ethnicity. The dashboard also reports the percent of the population aged 16 and older completing COVID-19 vaccination. Thus far, COVID-19 vaccines have only been approved for use in those age 16 and older.

The dashboard also includes a timeline for COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Nebraska, displaying the phases and priority groups as reflected in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. Priority groups and timing projections remain tentative and will be adjusted as new federal recommendations are issued and as vaccine shipments are scheduled.

A link to the COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard is at the top of the DHHS COVID-19 Cases dashboard, and is available at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/ece0db09da4d4ca68252c3967aa1e9dd/page/page_1/

The vaccination dashboard is updated around 7 p.m. each evening with data from the prior day.

Health care workers and nursing home residents in Nuckolls County are among those who have received the first round of the vaccine.

 

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