Three more COVID deaths in South Heartland district

South Heartland District Health Department marked a new total of more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases and reported three additional deaths attributed to COVID
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 11:25 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2022 at 9:14 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (Press Release) - In the weekly COVID-19 update on February 8, South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) marked a new total of more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases and reported three additional deaths attributed to COVID-19. The department also reported a second week of reduced positivity and reduced COVID-19 case rates, although both metrics are still indicating high community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

SHDHD executive director Michele Bever said she was saddened to report three additional deaths, which brings the total to 139 for the health district since March 2020. The overall case fatality rate stands at 1.4%.

The percent positive tests, or positivity, which is one metric used to measure community transmission of the virus, dropped for the week ending February 5. Total positivity for the week was 19.8%, indicating one of every five people who were tested were positive for COVID-19. Community positivity (based on people who do not live or work in long term care), dropped to 35.6% last week, meaning about one in every three people who were tested were positive for COVID-19. The district saw another drop in testing, with 783 tests logged last week (a drop of 42% from the previous week).

Even with a second week in a row of decreases, Bever said community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is still very high (3.5 times above the threshold for “high”) in the four-county area. “While the down-trend is good news, we should not let down our guard yet. As long as we have high community transmission, vulnerable residents are more likely to be exposed to the virus and suffer the consequences,” Bever said.

The health department encourages residents to protect themselves and others who are at risk for severe COVID-19 illness by using multiple layers of prevention to reduce the risk of infection, severe illness, hospitalization and death. “The most effective layer of prevention to reduce the risk of severe illness is getting fully vaccinated and boosted,” Bever said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, vaccination is very important for children, too, who are more at risk of serious side effects from infection by the virus than from the vaccine. Serious side effects from COVID-19 infection include Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and Long-Haul COVID-19.

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