Weather delays arrival of COVID vaccine for SHDHD
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - South Heartland District Health Department Executive Director Michele Bever says the COVID-19 risk dial score dropped to 2.0 from 2.1 in the previous week, straddling the border between the “moderate” and “elevated” risk.
“The number of positive tests reported each day continues to drop – averaging just 6.4 per day this past week,” Bever said. “Our 14-day average of new daily cases decreased to 18 per 100,000 for the week ending February 13.”
As of Wednesday, this average had dropped further to 16 per 100,000. Bever said the district’s goal is to drop below eight per 100,000, which is four new cases per day based on South Heartland’s population.
SHDHD’s hospital capacity indicators were not quite as good as last week. According to the February 17 dashboard, 27% of ICU beds were available, 30% percent of inpatients were COVID-positive, and there were ten COVID-19-positive inpatients, none needing ventilation.
In addition to fewer daily cases, progress on vaccination helped the risk dial. Bever said 6,115 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered by vaccine providers in the district including, in addition to SHDHD, Clay County Health Department, Brodstone Hospital, Webster County Hospital, Mary Lanning Healthcare, and eight partner primary care clinics and pharmacies.
“We and our partners have administered 4,385 first doses,” Bever said. “If we add to these the more than 600 doses of vaccine that the federal pharmacy contractors provided to residents and more than 250 doses they administered to staff in long-term care facilities in our district, we have at least 11.5% of the district population completing first dose. Our goal is for 70% of our district population to be fully vaccinated, meaning they received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“Unfortunately, we have a slight set-back in vaccination progress this week,” Bever said. “Vaccine shipments are being delayed across the country due to the weather and we have lost hope that we will receive our allotment in time for some ‘first dose’ clinics this week. We will be rescheduling appointments to next week.”
“All of the steps our residents are taking, all the tools we are using to block the spread of the coronavirus, are working to protect the health care system and to protect our most vulnerable,” Bever said. “We need to continue doing what’s working. We need to avoid the three Cs: avoid crowded places, avoid close contact, avoid confined spaces. We need to continue to wear masks that cover our noses and mouths, we need to stay home when we are sick, we need to disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects, we need to wash our hands, and we need to get the COVID vaccine when it is our turn.”
Residents can register to get the vaccine on the SHDHD website (www.southheartlandhealth.org) where there is a link to Nebraska’s vaccine registration system. Individuals will be notified when it is their turn to schedule an appointment.
“If you are in the current priority group of age 65+, it may still be many weeks before it is your turn,” Bever said. “When we receive vaccine, we get it into arms quickly – within one week of its arrival.”
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