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Risk dial remains unchanged in the South Heartland District Health Department

The risk dial remains at moderate high.
The risk dial remains at moderate high.(South Heartland District Health Department)
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 9:16 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) officials reported the weekly update to SHDHD’s COVID-19 Risk Dial, which is a summary of current COVID-19 conditions in the South Heartland District.

“Our health district COVID-19 risk summary score is unchanged at 2.0, based on data gathered last week,” said SHDHD executive director Michele Bever.

“The risk dial is one tool we use to communicate the risk of coronavirus spread in our district,” Bever said. “We are continuing to monitor the situation, especially with the transition to Phase 4 of the State-Directed Health Measures that went into effect this past Monday.”

SHDHD reported the 14-day average new daily cases per hundred thousand was 8.6, up from 7.1 the week before.

“One concern is the continuing upward trend in weekly case numbers in the past five weeks,” Bever said. “There were 33 positive results reported to us last week, the highest weekly number since mid-May. Last week’s case count was as much as 16 times higher than what we were seeing through June, when weekly new cases in the single digits was the norm.”

According to Bever, there were also more test results reported to the health department last week. The department received 491 test results for a weekly positivity of 6.8%, down from 9.2% the previous week. The rolling three-week average positivity was 8.0% (down from 8.5% the previous week).

“We’re glad that testing availability has improved in our district,” Bever said. “With the addition of Hastings Convenient Care as a TestNebraska site, there is free testing available in Hastings every day of the week. This includes each weekday at Mary Lanning and on weekends at Hastings Convenient Care.”

Bever also reported COVID-19 impact on PreK-12 schools in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster counties was less than last week (109 students/staff on September 8).

“On September 15, there were 41 students and staff out, including 33 students and six (6) staff in quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, and two (2) individuals (1 student, 1 staff) in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19,” she said. “We want to recognize all of the work the schools are doing to reduce the risks for their students and staff, and kudos to the students and their families who are protecting themselves and protecting others by practicing prevention against COVID-19.

Bever said Risk Dial guidance for action remains the same, especially as the district is now in Phase 4 of the State-Directed Health Measures.

“It is important to continue to work to reduce the spread of coronavirus so that the upward trend in our weekly new cases can be flattened or reversed," Bever said. "We encourage residents to continue to follow the level-specific recommendations for yellow/moderate risk and orange/elevated risk.”

The levels of risk for COVID-19 spread are indicated on the risk dial as low (green), moderate (yellow), elevated (orange) and severe (red). The COVID Risk Dial & Community Guidance can be found on SHDHD webpages at www.southheartlandhealth.org. 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.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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