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Hastings health and city leaders share concerns of COVID-19 situation

Hastings city and health leaders addressed the public about the COVID-19 situation for the first time in months Friday morning.
Hastings city and health leaders addressed the public about the COVID-19 situation for the first time in months Friday morning.(KSNB)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:57 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings city and health leaders addressed the public about the COVID-19 situation for the first time in months Friday morning. The meeting was led by city council president Paul Hamelink as Mayor Corey Stutte is recovering from his own COVID-19 diagnosis. Hamelink said he expects Stutte to be back in the office next week.

Michele Bever of the South Heartland District Health Department reported there are a total of 1,061 cases since the start of the pandemic in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls, and Webster Counties. There have been 46 total hospitalizations of residents and 16 deaths. Bever said there is a concerning trend in cases as over the last nine weeks there has been an increase week after week. She urges people to get their flu shots and to avoid gathering with people not in a household.

Mary Lanning Healthcare CEO Eric Barber reported the hospital is 90 percent full. Currently there are 10 people in the ICU with one bed open. They have a negative airflow room that could add two more potential COVID ICU beds. They are at 50 percent capacity with ventilators with three in use currently. Barber said a Kearney hospital reached out to them to take some of their patients since they could not find room there or in Grand Island. Barber said they are doing everything they can to remain calm and believes they are more educated and prepared to handle this surge than they were in the spring when the pandemic started.

Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Schneider said they are having great success in their schools with students and staff following the masking and distancing rules. There have been 21 positive COVID-19 cases in the district with 17 being adults and four being children. They have not had cases of spread within their classrooms, meaning the cases have come from the community. Schneider said the one concern is the majority of those positive cases have occurred since Oct. 1.

Governor Pete Ricketts is expected to talk about the statewide COVID-19 situation Friday at 1:30 pm.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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