South Heartland emphasizes need for COVID prevention at gatherings

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 10:33 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (PRESS RELEASE) - The South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) has identified positive COVID-19 cases associated with class reunion activities in Hastings last weekend. Several confirmed positive case reports have been received by the health department and additional positive results have been self-reported, with as many as 20 positive cases associated with these events currently under review.

“Anyone who attended reunion events over the weekend, or who has been notified they may have been exposed, should get tested, monitor for symptoms, and take every precaution to prevent additional spread,” said SHDHD executive director Michele Bever.

“We know there are more reunions coming up this weekend. There are also weddings and tailgates, community activities, fundraisers and sports events where people are gathering and not taking many precautions,” Bever said. “The events this past weekend are not unique – but the rapid appearance of COVID-19 cases associated with these particular events can serve as a reminder that the pandemic is not over and we need to continue to practice prevention.”

“We know the prevention layers work to limit the spread of the virus and more importantly to limit the severity of COVID-19 illness. So, please, stay home when you are ill or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, practice good hygiene like washing hands and not touching your face, wear masks in public, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and avoid crowded spaces and confined indoor places,” she said.

Bever said the Delta variant is highly contagious and easily spread person-to-person. People who are unvaccinated and people who are age 65 or older, or who have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or immunosuppression, are most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection.

“If you have any underlying health conditions, please protect yourself with as many layers of prevention as you can. The more layers you are able to use, the better. We ask everyone to be considerate of the health of their classmates, friends, neighbors, work colleagues, and other community members by using these layers of prevention,” Bever said. “The best layer of protection from severe illness is the COVID-19 vaccine.”

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