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Two Rivers COVID-19 risk dial moves further into orange

Two Rivers Public Health Department's COVID risk dial is now further into the orange as of...
Two Rivers Public Health Department's COVID risk dial is now further into the orange as of Thursday, August 26, 2021.(Two Rivers Public Health Department)
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 12:35 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - – The Two Rivers Public Health Department has increased its COVID-19 risk dial on Thursday, August 26. It is now higher into the orange “elevated” level of risk.

The health department recorded 241 cases of COVID-19 over 7 days, August 18- August 24, an increase of 67% from the previous week.

Weekly test positivity rate in COVID tests conducted among minors (0-17 years) is over 12%, the highest weekly rate in this year. In the past week, minors accounted for 14% of all tests conducted in TRPHD, and for 16% of all positive results.

COVID-related hospitalizations account for 11% of Medical/ Surgical bed occupancy; less than a third of all ICU beds in TRPHD are currently available.

Contact tracing interviews are restricted by personnel shortages and changed strategy. Currently, every positive case is contacted at least twice and a detailed case investigation is conducted. However, tracing of contacts and notification of potential exposures has been discontinued. Limited public access to testing in the district creates additional barriers to effective case identification.

As of Aug 24, 2021, 41% of TRPHD’s total population and 52% of the adult population (18+years) has been fully vaccinated across the district. In light of rising incidence rates connected to the newer delta variant, TRPHD strongly urges all unvaccinated vaccine-eligible residents to avail of the COVID vaccination through their healthcare provider, pharmacy or www.trphd.org

For these reasons, the risk dial is further raised this week. Risk in the district is assessed to be ‘elevated’. The raised dial level reflects the dramatic increase in cases, rising hospitalization rates, truncated contact tracing efforts and the steady rate of COVID-related hospitalizations in the district.

For these reasons, the risk dial is further raised this week. Risk in the district is assessed to be ‘elevated’. The previous time risk was ‘elevated’ was on 4th February, when test positivity was half the current rate and testing was more widespread. However, increased vaccination coverage in the district is an important factor that distinguishes the current situation from February.

For the week of August 20- 26, there was a total of 255 cases in the seven-county region.

Two Rivers Public Health Department began reporting cases in each county through an average daily case rate in order to further de-identify the data, and help the public identify trends in cases. To calculate the daily rate of new infections, we look at the average number of newly confirmed cases in the last 7 days per 100,000 residents. Using the population size in the calculation helps us more easily compare larger and smaller counties. A larger county would be expected to have more cases because of the larger population, but expressing the rate per 100,000 residents enables a more equal analysis.

7-day rolling averages for this week include:

· Buffalo County – 44 daily cases per 100,000 residents

· Dawson County – 31.5 daily cases per 100,000 residents

· Franklin County – 43.2 daily cases per 100,000 residents

· Gosper County-- 28.7 daily cases per 100,000 residents

· Harlan County – 12.7 daily cases per 100,000 residents

· Kearney County – 37.4 daily cases per 100,000 residents

· Phelps County – 26.9 daily cases per 100,000 residents

Remaining vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is more important than ever. Your hard work and efforts made in your daily lives should be applauded. Changes are extremely hard, but they are important for the future of Nebraska and our citizens. The more steps you and your family can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the safer everyone will be.

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