The Superior Express -

SHDHD reports steps taken to reduce spread of COVID are working

 

February 18, 2021



Monday South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials reported 20 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the previous four days (February 12 – February 15), averaging five new cases per day and bringing the cumulative number of cases in the four-county health district to 4,409. The new confirmed cases for the four-day period include: 12 in Adams, three in Clay, five in Nuckolls and zero in Webster. By county, the new cumulative totals are: 2,866 cases in Adams, 719 cases in Clay, 488 cases in Nuckolls, and 336 cases in Webster.

Overall weekly positivity (number of positive tests divided by the number of tests conducted) for the health district decreased to 5.5 percent compared to 6.3 percent the week before. When the results from required testing in long term care facilities are taken out, the positivity rate for the general population is 13.2 percent for the health district. “The positivity rate from testing in long term care facilities is at 0.2 percent. The large number of negative tests from long term care facility staff and residents pulls the overall positivity down.

The decreasing positivity is an indicator the steps we took to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are working. Health officials are monitoring the spread of the new variants of the virus that were detected first in other countries and are now in the U.S. The B.1.1.7. variant has spread to 40 states, up from 33 last week. Another variant has been detected in eight states, up from four last week.

There is evidence the SARS-CoV-2 variants spread more quickly may not be as susceptible to the available treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies. “If these variants spread to Nebraska, they could increase the number of infections we see. The variants could decrease our ability to combat the infections with treatments developed specifically to fight illness caused by the current version of SARS-CoV-2,” said Michele Bever, South Heartland executive director, “In addition, the vaccines we have now might not be as effective against the new variants. We need to keep virus spread low so there is less chance the variants can spread to, or take hold in, our communities.”

Residents age 65 and above are encouraged to register for the COVID vaccine on the state vaccine registration system, called VRAS. The sign-up tool can be accessed through SHDHD’s website, http://www.southheart landhealth.org. Registered individuals will be notified when it is their turn to schedule an appointment.

 

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