CDHD risk dial moves to ‘High Risk’

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 6:32 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Central District Health Department announced their risk dial has moved up to the high-risk level.

While the test positive test rate is at 5%, that’s not the only thing that determines the dial level.

“The thing about COVID is there are so many different factors to consider and there are so many different pieces of data so we try to put them together into this COVID risk dial,” Health Director Teresa Anderson said. “But remember that it’s just what it is, it’s just a risk dial and there are other factors that need to be considered.”

On top of the positive cases, the CDHD looks at the hospitals and how many ICU beds and ventilators are available.

Then they look at how readily available testing is. The health department has Test Nebraska at their office twice a week on Monday and Fridays but they said it is still taking 3-5 days to get the tests results back. They need it back sooner to inform anyone who is positive or may have been exposed. The private labs sometimes take longer to get results back. Contact tracing and where the virus is impacting the population also play a role in the dial.

“With the COVID-19 risk dial at least we’re considering some of the UNMC factors that they’re putting into their risk dial but we also have some local factors that we can add,” Anderson said.

So now that it is in the orange high-risk category, does this change anything?

When it comes to schools some may want to make changes like making masks mandatory if they didn’t already. The health department has guidelines they urge the public to follow based on the different risk levels. They are cautious since they are just on the cusp of the orange level. They moved from 1.9 to 2.0 which isn’t a major change, but part of the overall increasing trend.

“Some of the schools have built their reopening plans around the color of the dial but we’ve cautioned them that they should not put all of their eggs in one basket i.e. depend on that dial what zone they should be in,” Anderson said. “So we’re hopeful that, through close communication with the schools, we will be able to share with them what we believe will be the best guidance at the time.”

Schools work closely with the health department on any of these changes. Anderson said the high-risk level isn’t something that should be ignored and they will be monitoring it for any continued increase in the trends. Anderson and Mayor Roger Steele are urging people to wear masks any time possible to help slow the spread.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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