Virus levels remain high in South Heartland communities

CDC guidance changes for COVID positive/exposed
SHDHD reports Covid positivity has declined, but still high in wastewater.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:38 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 2:53 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (Press Release) - In the health department’s weekly health update on Aug. 16, South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) executive director Michele Bever reported on the status of COVID-19 in the health district and on the recent changes in CDC guidance for people testing positive for COVID-19 or exposed to someone with COVID-19.

“COVID case rates and positivity have declined compared to the previous week, but virus levels in wastewater have continued to rise, a sign of the virus’s ongoing presence in our community,” Bever said.

Bever said reports of COVID testing results for the 4-county district had declined nearly 30% over the previous week to just 234 confirmed lab reports. Self-tests typically are not reported to the health department and are not included in the counts. Based on the limited testing, positivity for the week ending August 13 was still high, at 31%, and the 7-day case rate had dropped from high to substantial, at 66 cases per 100,000 as of August 16.

“This is why we also watch SARS-CoV-2 virus levels in wastewater, from the treatment facility in Hastings. These levels are still trending upward which means COVID is still here, and we still need to take precautions because of it.”

Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adjusted their guidance on isolation and precautions for people with Covid 19. Bever said that the revised guidance did not change the fact that individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 or who test positive for COVID-19 should always isolate from others early, during their most infectious period. “We have a step-by-step summary for ‘What to do if you were exposed and What to do if you test positive or have symptoms, as well as infographics of the CDC’s updated guidance. The step-by-step summary and infographics may be viewed or downloaded from our website,” she said.

The health department continues to recommend keeping COVID-19 test kits on hand and keeping up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. For locations offering COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 tests, refer to the SHDHD website, or call the health department office, 1-877-238-7595.

  • 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases logged last week compared to 65 the week before
  • 12 confirmed cases counted in the current week through Tuesday.
  • Two additional deaths of South Heartland residents attributed to COVID-19 bring the health district’s cumulative total to 150 deaths.
  • 11,030 cumulative positive cases since March 2020.

Other South Heartland District COVID-19 trends may be found on SHDHD’S Covid-19 dashboard.

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