SHDHD learns from spring, braces as cases rise

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 6:18 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - With the report of two new deaths in the district this week, the South Heartland District Health Department is becoming concerned about the steady rise in positive cases and what that will mean for the community. But things are a little different than they were when we saw this in April and May.

Over the last eight weeks, the district has reported more cases than the previous week. Right now the hospitals are averaging 46% ICU availability and the health department is urging people to up their precautions again to avoid them getting overwhelmed.

“The ability of that virus is just amazing. so we have to prevent it up front and way way in advance to have that lag time of the cases increasing, and the hospitalizations increasing, and the deaths increasing,” SHDHD Executive Director Michele Bever said. “So we need to act now to make a difference two or three weeks down the road.”

With more treatments available and testing to alert people when they need to isolate, fewer people have needed extended stays in the hospital. There was a shortage of PPE for first responders and healthcare workers in the spring. Over the months with fewer cases they have been able to create a stockpile.

“With the current burn rate they have about a six month supply right now and if we follow the CDC guidelines of maintaining that equipment through cleaning procedures or something like that it will stretch to about 10 months,” Adams County Emergency Manager Ron Pughes said.

The health department said schools have been a safe place with the masking rules and distancing enforced. They suggest if the community can apply more of that it can help bring the curve back down.

“They think we’ve done it, we’ve lived through it, we’ve seen high ranking officials get through it quickly and doesn’t seem to affect them. But what I think is important to realize is that this is still a dangerous virus regardless of where we are at and how we’ve lived it before. People need to take those precautions,” Pughes said.

They hope if people take action now there won’t be another spike similar to the spring. With the rise in cases happening when there are fewer restrictions, health professionals said it is up to the individual to be cautious about not spreading the virus and not going to large gatherings without a mask where the virus is being found most frequently.

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