South Heartland Positivity Rate Remains High in General Population | Covid-19


The South Heartland Health District will remain subject to a COVID-19 information notice for the time being, while the test positivity rate among the general public remains at a high level.

That was the word Tuesday night from the district health department, which serves Adams, Webster, Clay and Nuckolls counties, in its regular weekly update on conditions related to the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

The health department recorded 84 new laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among district residents for the week of October 10-16 and an additional 57 new cases in the first three days of this week, said Michele Bever, executive director of the department, in the Tuesday evening press release.

As of March 18, 2020, a total of 6,272 district residents have tested positive for infection with the original novel coronavirus or one of its variants.

According to South Heartland’s online COVID-19 data dashboard, overall positivity fell below 8% last week to 7.4%, which is considered moderate community transmission.

At the same time, however, community positivity, which excludes results of regular surveillance tests in long-term care facilities, rose to 24.6%, in the high transmission range.

Community transmission in the four counties of the district ranged from 21% to 53%.

“SHDHD’s local COVID-19 advisory will remain in effect for our counties while levels of community transmission remain high, as indicated by both case rate and community positivity metrics,” Bever said. .

The COVID-19 advisory, which was scheduled to expire or extend on October 15, is informational in nature and is not a regulatory instrument.

The test positivity rate, or “positivity” for short, is the number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 recorded among residents of the district in a given week, divided by the total number of tests administered in the course of the week. the same period. The rate can obviously be affected by increases or decreases in the number of tests.

The rate of new South Heartland cases (confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days) has remained at a high level of community transmission. For the four-county district, the seven-day rate was 219 cases per 100,000 population on October 19. (This is a calculation since the total population of the health district is approximately 45,000.)

More sequencing results from previously reported cases revealed that the cases involved the delta variant of the virus. Since the first delta variant was identified in the South Heartland district in mid-July, all subsequent sequencing results – a total of 51 cases – have been identified as delta variant cases.

The three South Heartland hospitals said they treated seven COVID-19 inpatients (21.2% of all inpatients) on Tuesday, one COVID-19 patient requiring a ventilator.

A total of 57.1% of the beds in the staffed intensive care units in these hospitals were available for new patients.

As cold, RSV and flu season sets in, Bever is encouraging eligible district residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and seasonal flu.

“Our fall and winter vacations bring people together, which contributes to the spread of these viruses,” she said. “The use of prevention to reduce the impact of these respiratory viruses is even more important this year, especially since we already have a high level of COVID-19 circulating in our communities.

“Getting the flu shot (for seasonal flu) and a COVID-19 vaccine (for SARS-CoV-2) will reduce the severity of these illnesses and are the best prevention measures we can take. Other important steps to reduce the spread of any respiratory viral illness are staying home when you have symptoms, keeping your distance from others (6 feet is a good standard), and avoiding crowded areas and crowded areas. confined interior spaces. “

Other prevention practices include washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, covering coughs and sneezing and avoid touching your nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Bever said wearing a mask in public is another recommended prevention practice for people over 2 years old.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an influenza vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine, including a booster, can be given at the same time.

“These vaccines are very safe and very effective in reducing the risk of serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and death,” Bever said. “October is a good time to get your flu shot, and it’s not too late to get your first and second COVID-19 shots. “

South Heartland’s vaccine webpage, found online via, provides a list of locations offering COVID-19 vaccine in the South Heartland District and what vaccine products are offered at each location. The list of vaccinators is updated frequently to include new times, dates, whether walk-in visits are accepted and, if necessary, how to make an appointment at each site.

Bever said that many health care providers in the district continue to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients, and residents should consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza during the same visit.

The SHDHD offers weekly walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics with Pfizer vaccine from Wednesday through October in Hastings. Clinics operate from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the west end of the Allen Building, 1115 W. Second St.

Families are encouraged to bring their children aged 12 and over. Minor children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Others are also encouraged to get vaccinated at these clinics.

Entrance is through Allen’s west gate. Masks are mandatory. Participants can register in advance at

Bever encourages residents to contact their personal physician or health department if they have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, additional doses for people with compromised immunity, booster doses, or COVID-19 testing. Contact the health department at 402-462-6211 or 877-238-7595.

Bever said people looking for COVID-19 tests can refer to the health department’s website to find a list of testing sites, the types of tests offered and the times the tests are available.

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