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The Central District Health Department works hard to provide the most accurate and up to date information available. If you have questions on any of the pieces presented here please contact us at (308) 385-5175. 


NEW COVID-19 RECORDS SET IN CENTRAL DISTRICT

Grand Island, NE – With more than 1,300 positive cases and a 59% positivity rate seen in the last 7 days, the Central District is seeing record numbers of COVID-19.

From January 7 – January 13, 1,373 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties. In Hall County, 1,160 cases were reported, with 127 reported in Hamilton County and 86 reported in Merrick County. One death was also reported.

This record number of cases and positivity can be attributed, in part, to the extremely transmissible Omicron variant. Currently case counts are hitting young people the hardest, with ages 10 – 49 seeing the highest number of positive cases. Also of concern are rapidly rising cases in the 0-9 age range. You can find more information on our COVID-19 dashboard at www.cdhd.ne.gov.

These numbers break the old records set on Wednesday with 870 confirmed cases in a 7-day period. The previous high for this area took place in November of 2020 when we had 710 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and saw a 45.4% positivity rate. Breakthrough infections are common with the Omicron variant, but those who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations (two doses plus a booster) are exponentially less likely to suffer the worst effects of the virus, including persistent fever, lung damage and death.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, those who have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were 11 times less likely to be hospitalized and those who had received their booster dose were 46 times less likely to be hospitalized than people who were not vaccinated. These numbers, taken from actual hospitalizations in Nebraska in December, mirror data from the rest of the country.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and head off the worst symptoms. Other mitigation efforts include wearing tight fitting surgical masks while in public, social distancing and getting tested if you develop symptoms. If you test positive or were exposed, new isolation and quarantine protocols are currently up on our website.

We offer first and second COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots from 8 am – 4:30 pm Mondays – Fridays with Thursday clinics running until 7 pm. Nomi Health also offers COVID-19 testing by appointment only due to current high demand. Find out more at our website, www.cdhd.ne.gov. For more info call (308) 385-5175.


Grand Island, NE – Grand Island, NE – On Wednesday the CDC dropped the age for those who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot from 16-years-old to 12-years-old. This means everyone 12 and over who has received either a two-shot sequence of the Pfizer vaccine should  receive a booster shot 5 months after their second dose.

Anyone who have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Jansen (J&J) vaccine should also get a booster shot 5 months after their last dose.

According to the CDC, a booster shot increases immunity against COVID-19 significantly, particularly against several variants currently spreading quickly around the country.

Given the current spike on COVID-19 cases in Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties, this news is well timed. The last 7 days has seen more than 400 COVID-19 infections in the Central District, with over half of the new infections under the age of 40. Infections in younger children also continue to rise and transmissibility remains high. In the Central District, currently 17% of those under the age of 20 are vaccinated against COVID-19 and just over half (55%) of those under 40 are vaccinated.

In the United States about half of the 12 to 15 population -- about 8.7 million -- is fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 5 million of them have been fully vaccinated for more than five months and are now eligible to receive a booster shot. Children in this age group represent about 5% of the total US population. They account for about 4% of the fully vaccinated population in the US and about 3% of those eligible to receive a booster shot, according to the latest CDC data.

CDHD offers COVID-19 vaccines from 8 am – 4:30 pm Mondays – Fridays and is open until 7 pm on Thursdays. Shots are given at no charge, although we ask for insurance to cover administrative costs. Vaccines are also available at your local pharmacy throughout the Central District.

Nomi Health offers drive through  COVID-19 testing from 8 am – 3 pm Mondays – Fridays and 8 am – Noon on Saturdays at our location. Please register prior to getting tested. For more information please call (308) 385-5175.


RECENT COVID SURGE UNDERLINES NEED FOR VACCINES

Grand Island, NE – The Central District, including Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties, is in the midst of a COVID-19 surge that has resulted in hundreds of new cases over the past 7 days and 5 COVID related deaths since December 3.  

This last week has seen 412 lab confirmed cases in the three counties. This number is 66% higher than at this time last year. The 5 deaths include three men and two women ranging in age from 36-94. Most of the increase in cases can be attributed to variants of COVID-19 including Delta and the highly transmissible Omicron.

Surges in COVID-19 vividly illustrate the need to get vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus. Those who are vaccinated are far less likely to experience severe symptoms of COVID-19 which can include permanent lung damage, long lasting fatigue and death. While break through infections are common with the Omicron strain, vaccination has been proven to widely and consistently prevent the worst symptoms of the virus. According to the CDC COVID Tracker website, roughly half of Central District residents are vaccinated.

As of December 16, 2021, those who are fully vaccinated include:

-83% of those age 65+
-55% of those age 30-49
-40% of those age 16-29
-10.7% of those age 0-15

Currently, those who are 16 and above can get Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines and a booster shot 6 months after the second dose. We expect that age range to be expanded later this week. Please watch our website, www.cdhd.ne.gov and social media for more information as it becomes available.

CDHD offers COVID-19 vaccines from 8 am – 4:30 pm Mondays – Fridays and is open until 7 pm on Thursdays.  Nomi Health offers drive through  COVID-19 testing from 8 am – 3 pm Mondays – Fridays and 8 am – Noon on Saturdays at our location. Please register prior to getting tested. For more information please call (308) 385-5175.


Grand Island, NE – The first confirmed case of community transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in the Central District. The positive sequencing test was detected in an unvaccinated healthcare worker with no history of travel.

Initial research shows the highly transmissible Omicron variant may produce milder symptoms than previous variants. As people are gathering indoors for the holidays, the concern is Omicron will spread more easily. Hospitals in Nebraska continue to be near or at capacity with COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of which are unvaccinated.

Vaccines are known to both greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect from the most serious symptoms, which can lead to hospitalization and death. Although breakthrough infections are expected to increase with the Omicron variant, those who are vaccinated have a much higher level of protection than those who are not.

CDHD continues to stress the importance of a layered approach of prevention. In addition to being fully vaccinated, protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 over the Christmas holiday by using these layers of protection:

-Stay home and away from other household members if you are sick
-Get tested if you have symptoms
-Wear a mask when you are inside and/or close to strangers
-Wash your hands often
-If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, get tested before being around others

Both COVID-19 testing and vaccinations will resume at CDHD on Monday, December 27th. NOMI offers both rapid antigen testing with results in an hour for those with symptoms of COVID-19, and PCR testing with results back in 24-36 hours. CDHD Covid Info will be updated Monday, December 27.

CDHD will continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots following the Christmas holiday break. For more information log onto www.cdhd.ne.gov or call us at (308) 385-5175.


COVID-19 CASES RISE AT AN ALARMING RATE IN THE CENTRAL DISTRICT

Grand Island, NE – The Central District continues to see increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases as well as increasing numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations. The positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is currently at 48%.

“In Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties, for nearly every negative test, there is a positive test,” Teresa Anderson, CDHD Health Director, said. “While not all COVID-19 patients require hospitalization, if you are unvaccinated in Nebraska, the risk of being hospitalized is ten times higher.”

Overall, Nebraska hospitals report a continued increase in the rate of admissions of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients in the 30-50 age range.

“This morning, for the Tri-Cities area, there were a total of 2 out of 57 ICU beds available and there were 109 adult COVID-19 inpatients,” Anderson said. “Our understanding is that our metro hospitals are very limited in accepting transfers from greater Nebraska. This means our critical access hospitals have nowhere to transfer patients who need advanced level care. Getting vaccinated now can prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. COVID-19 vaccinations take the strain off of hospital staff, prevent illness and prevent needless deaths.”

 CDHD advises that now is the time to get vaccinated:

1.       If you have questions about whether you should get vaccinated, talk to your healthcare   provider.

2.      Go to credible science-based sources for vaccine information.

3.       Have honest talks with loved ones about the risks of getting COVID and the safety of the vaccine.

4.      Consider wearing a mask when indoors with non-household groups, socially distance from others, stay home if ill, and get tested.

CDHD has partnered with Nomi Health to offer free COVID-19 testing from 8 am – 3 pm, Wednesdays – Fridays at the CDHD, 1137 South Locust Street in Grand Island to make available rapid tests for those with COVID-19 symptoms (same day results), and PCR tests (results available in 24-36 hours).

The COVID-19 vaccine (for age 5 and older) and adult boosters (age 18 and older) are available at vaccine clinics from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday and on Thursdays until 7 pm. Vaccines are given at no cost but if insured, CDHD bills for vaccine administration. For more information, call 308-385-5175 or visit our website, www.cdhd.ne.gov.


COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available For Children Age 5-11 Beginning November 3rd.

Grand Island – With the recent authorization from the Center for Disease Control, Central District Health Department will begin administering shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5-11 beginning on Wednesday, November 3rd. This vaccine is formulated for children and is 1/3 the adult dose. The vaccine has been shown to protect against COVID-19.

Those who are 12-18 may receive COVID-19 vaccines under the CDC’s Emergency Use Authorization. The COVID-19 vaccines have been fully approved for those 18 and over.

COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalizations, deaths, MIS-C (inflammatory syndromes) and long-term complications, such as “long COVID,” in which symptoms can linger for months. During a 6-week period in late June to mid-August, COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and adolescents increased fivefold in the Central District.

Vaccination, along with other preventative measures, can protect children from COVID-19. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm.  The more children who receive the vaccination, the better equipped our community will be when it comes to battling the spread of COVID-19. Currently, we have a “high transmission” rate of COVID-19, based on criteria set forth by the CDC.

Those who have concerns about the vaccine for their child are encouraged to contact their child’s pediatrician with questions. CDHD has also created a video featuring Dr. Daniel Leonard which answers frequently asked questions about the vaccine and its development. The Center for Disease Control also has an FAQ here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/planning/children.html

With roughly 4 in 10 of the population of Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it is important to increase vaccination rates. Currently the Central District is seeing around 200 new cases of COVID-19 each week, with positivity rates as high as 50% in some locations. Vaccination is the safest treatment against the spread of this new disease.

Central District Health Department holds vaccine clinics from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Mondays – Fridays with Thursday clinics open until 7 pm. We also host drive through clinics on Mondays and Tuesdays. Vaccines are offered at no cost to you and insurance information is collected, but not necessary. We both encourage and offer booster and third doses for those who have already been vaccinated. For more information log onto www.cdhd.ne.gov or call us at (308) 385-5175.


Boosters and Third Doses For All COVID-19 Vaccines Available Soon

Grand Island – With the recommendation from the CDC announced on Thursday, Central District Health Department will now administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to specific populations starting on Monday, October 25, 2021.

Previously, just those who have had the Pfizer vaccine were eligible for booster shots or third doses. With the CDC approval, those who have had Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccine are eligible for a booster of any of the three available vaccines, known as Mix and Match.

Specifically:

·CDC recommends a third dose for Moderna vaccine recipients at least six months after a person’s initial course for those 65 and older, and those as young as 18 who are at higher risk due to their underlying health conditions, or where they work or live

·Those 18 and over who had a Johnson & Johnson (J&J) shot are eligible for one booster shot two months after their first shot and may receive J&J, Moderna, or Pfizer

·Those who received two doses of either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine are eligible for one booster shot six months after their first shot and may receive J&J, Moderna or Pfizer

We are also expecting approval for pediatric doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for those age 5-11 by the first week in November. We are well prepared for both and have ample supplies of all three adult vaccines. In addition, we expect to receive Pfizer pediatric vaccine doses this week and next week. Parents should ask their child’s pediatrician Health Care Provider about specific questions regarding concerns for their child. You can find more at the Center for Disease Control’s website at www.cdc.gov.

CDHD provides COVID-19 vaccinations from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Mondays through Fridays with Thursday clinics running until 7 pm. We also offer drive through clinics on Mondays and Tuesday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. You can find the most recent information on COVID-19 and more at our website, www.cdhd.ne.gov. We are also available for questions at (308) 385-5175. 


Grand Island- On Thursday, the CDC approved third doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to select groups. As COVID-19 continues to spread across Nebraska, CDHD will begin providing additional doses of the vaccine to those listed below. Please note, each individual must have previously had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine).

The CDC recommends:

·         people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.

·         people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a third dose at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.

·         people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a third dose at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

·         people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a third dose at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

CDHD will being providing Pfizer shots and annual flu shots on Mondays and Tuesdays 8:30am to 4:30pm September 27th at 1137 South Locust St. through a drive-through clinic in the parking lot. We also offer vaccine clinics from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Mondays – Fridays and 8:30 am – 7 pm on Thursdays. No appointment is needed. Those seeking boosters must present their COVID-19 vaccination cards and insurance cards if applicable.

You can find the most recent information on COVID-19 and more at our website, www.cdhd.ne.gov. We are also available for questions at (308) 385-5175. 


Novel Coronavirus (2019-CoV)

CDC has updated our consumer webpage describing the types of masks and respirators used to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Masking is a critical public health tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask. To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky today met with a group of representatives from disability organizations and allies to discuss their concerns surrounding a recent television appearance by Dr. Walensky.

A new <a href="https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciab931/6506316?searchresult=1">CDC study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID)</a> shows that flu vaccination protected children against serious flu illness even when they were infected with a flu virus that was <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/change.htm">antigenically different</a> from the vaccine virus.

Welcome and thank you all for standing by. At this time, all participants will be in a listen only mode until the question and answer portion of today's conference.