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South Heartland District Health Department maintains moderate-risk COVID-19 levels

The SHDHD risk dial remains at high, moderate.
The SHDHD risk dial remains at high, moderate.(KSNB)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 8:55 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials provided a weekly update to SHDHD’s COVID-19 Risk Dial, which provides a summary of current COVID-19 conditions in the South Heartland District.

“The needle on the risk dial remains at 1.9, the ‘high moderate’ risk level,‘” said SHDHD executive director Michele Bever.  

Bever reported that some factors included in the risk dial metrics had improved compared to the previous week, including the average number of close contacts per positive individual (a decrease), the average time from symptoms to isolation (less time), and lab turnaround time (more lab test results returned within 2 days). 

“However, the positivity rate increased to 8.2%, up from 4.4% the previous week, and the rolling three-week positivity average increased to 6.7%,” Bever said. “Also, we saw a higher percent of new cases where the source of exposure was unknown (i.e., community spread) and we continued to see new positive tests and exposures in individuals associated with schools and colleges in our district.”

The levels of risk for COVID-19 spread are indicated on the risk dial as low (green), moderate (yellow), elevated (orange) and severe (red). Bever said based on the past three weeks, she would describe the district as balancing at yellow/orange, between moderate and elevated risk levels. She encouraged residents to continue to follow the level-specific recommendations that go along with the yellow and the orange risk levels.  

“Testing continues to be key to slowing the spread,” Bever said. “People can be tested for free through TestNebraska. In our health district, TestNebraska is now available in Hastings, in addition to Superior.” 

To make an appointment at a TestNebraska site, visit the TestNebraska website (testnebraska.com) to complete a short survey and to choose a time and location.

Bever said the risk dial is just one tool that can help residents know the general risk of COVID-19 spread in the health district. The COVID Risk Dial & Community Guidance can be found on SHDHD webpages at www.southheartlandhealth.org. The document includes recommendations for the general public and for at-risk and vulnerable individuals. It includes actions for home, at work and in public.

South Heartland District case counts and trends can be found on SHDHD’s dashboard of local COVID-19 case statistics. This dashboard, along with updates, guidance, news releases and other COVID-19 information and links can be found on the SHDHD website: www.southheartlandhealth.org. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on their Data Dashboard at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.

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