Risk dial moves up in Two Rivers District

October averaging over 36 cases per day
Two Rivers Public Health Dept. elevated their risk dial.
Two Rivers Public Health Dept. elevated their risk dial.(Two Rivers Public Health Department)
Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 9:57 AM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - A concern over hospitalization rates, acute care availability and other factors has led to an increase in the weekly risk dial utilized by the Two Rivers Public Health Department.

The dial was moved to a higher level in the orange, or “elevated” section. That is the third highest of four color coded levels on the risk dial. The dial has been in the elevated level in prior weeks, but the department listed a number of factors contributing to the Thursday increase. According to a press release from Two Rivers, those factors include:

· Two Rivers Health Department is happy to announce that some of the issues with data resolution that affected positivity rates across the district in the previous two weeks seem to have been resolved. Consequently, the number of test results received this week almost doubled compared to the previous week, and the number of positives rose by 60% compared to the previous week. Hence, although positivity rates fell by almost 2% compared to the previous week, we would continue to advise caution.

· Hospitalization rates and use of critical equipment have risen dramatically when compared to previous weeks. The availability of intensive care (ICU) beds in the district area dropped from about three-quarters to only half.

· Of particular concern are reports from acute care hospitals in the greater Two Rivers Health region that they may be at or nearing capacity. While critical access hospitals do not currently see the same kind of pressure in occupancy, upstream pressure on acute referral hospital beds has influenced the department’s perception of the countywide risk

· Over the past week, 60-79 year-olds were over a quarter of all positive cases in the district, despite accounting for about a sixth of all tests conducted. Due to the special risks for severe disease faced by this age group, the department continues to monitor the cases closely.

· Communal events conducted in the district may have resulted in a high number of new infections from a single point source. Two Rivers is closely monitoring an outbreak of COVID-19 in Kearney County related to the Lutheran Church services.

Also Thursday, the addition of 46 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Two Rivers Public Health Department for Wednesday results in an average of nearly 37 positive cases for the first seven days of October.

Wednesday’s report included 20 new confirmed cases in Buffalo County. There were 13 new cases reported in Phelps County. Other cases included four in Harlan County and three each in Dawson, Franklin and Kearney Counties.

There have now been 258 cases reported in the month of October for the seven-county area served by Two Rivers, and average of 36.9 per day. Buffalo County was the site of 140 of those cases, an average of 20 per day for the first seven days of the month. Those numbers are according to the daily reports provided by the district.

Two Rivers continues to advise people to stay home when experiencing illness and seek medical care when necessary.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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