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South Heartland Health encouraging booster shots while numbers are down

Testing for COVID-19 has decreased 26 percent last week from the previous week.
Testing for COVID-19 has decreased 26 percent last week from the previous week.(Hailey Mach, KSNB)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 7:37 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - In the weekly COVID-19 update on May 3, the South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever shared recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination and boosters, emphasizing the importance of staying up to date on vaccination.

“There are three things we want you to know about COVID-19 vaccine,” Bever said.

“First: The COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness;

Second: COVID-19 vaccine boosters can further improve or restore protection that might have waned over the time since your primary series vaccination;

And third: People are best protected from severe illness when they stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. This means getting the initial series, followed by a booster after the recommended length of time, and then a second booster for those who are eligible.”

Bever said people are asking about the best time to get their second booster. “Some people may be tempted to wait, since case rates are lower at this time. But, because COVID testing is also quite low now (only 128 tests reported in our district last week), we don’t have the best picture of the actual level of community transmission and won’t necessarily be able to know right away when community transmission starts increasing,” she said.

“None of us can know our individual susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. What we do know is that some people are more at risk of severe illness than others. Bottom line, you can reduce your risk of severe illness by getting vaccinated and boosted when you are eligible,” Bever said.

Bever said it is not too late to get started with the vaccination series. The health department, in collaboration with vaccine provider partners, is assuring that vaccine is offered at locations in all four of South Heartland’s counties. Residents may contact a health care provider or the health department with questions about eligibility and timing for vaccines and boosters. For locations offering COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 tests, refer to the SHDHD website, southheartlandhealth.org.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccine boosters, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html. For general COVID-19 updates, visit the UNMC Global Center for Health Security: https://www.unmc.edu/healthsecurity/covid-19/biweekly-updates.html.

05.03.2022 SHDHD COVID-19 data updates:

  • Six confirmed COVID-19 cases logged last week compared to 8 the week before; 8 confirmed cases counted in the current week through Tuesday.
  • Cumulative case total for the health district is 10,267 since March 2020.
  • Rolling seven-day total of new cases per 100,000 people is 19.9 cases per 100K, considered moderate (April 26). “Low” community transmission is less than 10 cases per 100K in the past seven days.
  • Percent positive tests, or positivity: Community positivity (based on tests in people who do not live or work in long term care) increased to 16.0 percent for the week ending April 30, indicating one of every six people who were tested were positive for COVID-19. Goal for “low” transmission is to sustain below five percent positivity.
  • Surveillance testing in the long-term care facilities: in the past two weeks, only one long-term care facility reported any residents or staff testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Testing decreased by 26 percent with 128 tests logged last week compared to 172 the previous week. Reminder: at-home/self-tests are not included in the case or test counts.
  • Hospital capacity metrics as of May 3: zero patients hospitalized with COVID; 36.4 percent of staffed ICU beds available.
  • C.D.C.’s Community Levels, which are updated weekly on Thursdays and are a combined metric that includes hospital data, currently show Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster Counties at “low” community level.
  • SHDHD COVID-19 vaccination: 49 percent of all residents are fully vaccinated and 29 percent are boosted. To date, six percent of children ages 5-11, 19 percent of children ages 12-15, and 24 percent of young people ages 16-19; 43 percent of ages 20-34; 54 percent of ages 35-44; 55 percent of ages 45-54; 62 percent of ages 55-64; 91 percent of ages 65-74; 91 percent of ages 75-84; and 95 percent of ages 85+ are fully vaccinated.

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