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.
Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties. In the last 7 days, there have been 214 new confirmed cases with a positivity rate is 42% meaning that approximately 4 out of every 10 people who received a test are positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Of the new cases this past 7 days, 29% (62) are children under age 19. According to the CDC, rates of COVID-19–associated hospitalization among children increased rapidly from late June to mid-August 2021, due in large part to the Delta variant. With more activities resuming, including in-person school and a return of younger children to childcare settings, preventive measures to reduce the number of severe COVID-19 cases are critical. Universal indoor masking is recommended for all teachers, staff members, students, and visitors in kindergarten through grade 12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
CDC also recommends:
-Persons older than 2-years-old who are unvaccinated, as well as vaccinated persons in areas of substantial or high transmission, wear masks in all indoor public spaces.
-Childcare centers serving children too young to be vaccinated consider implementing universal indoor masking for persons 2-years-old and older.
-All persons who are eligible should receive COVID-19 vaccines to reduce the risk for severe disease for themselves and others with whom they come into contact, including children who are currently too young to be vaccinated.
Weekly COVID-19-associated rates among children and adolescents rose nearly five-fold during late June-mid-August 2021 coinciding with increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant. Hospitalization rates are 10 times higher among unvaccinated than among fully vaccinated adolescents.
CDHD provides COVID-19 vaccinations from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Mondays through Fridays with Thursday clinics running until 8 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 – As we move into the end of summer and the Labor Day weekend, the Central District remains in the “high transmission” category for COVID-19. Because of this, CDHD advises protective health measures to avoid catching or sharing COVID-19 during holiday celebrations.
Part of the reason protective health measures are increasingly important is the increase in positive cases amongst children in the area. CDHD has seen a rapidly increasing number of youth who are testing positive for COVID-19. One month ago, 12% of positive tests were in youth 19 and under. Currently, 26% of total positive test are in youth 19 and under.
Other statistics related to COVID-19 include:
-191 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 7 days in our three-county area. That translates to 243 cases per 100,000 people (high community transmission level).
-The positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is 30% (high community transmission level).
-While hospitalization numbers in the district fluctuate, the trend is toward an increasing number of persons with COVID-19 being hospitalized
-Slightly under 37% of the population of Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties are vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes 79% of those 65 and over, and 32% of those age 16-29, with just 6% of those age 0-15 vaccinated.
The best way to protect yourself and those around you against the effects of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. It is important to remember that COVID-19 vaccines are not approved for use in those under age 12, making this group highly vulnerable to the Delta variant which infects people of all ages. CDHD advises the community to take action to protect young people. Extensive research in the last year proves that the use of masks is effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Because of the high transmission rate in the Central District, we emphasize the importance of wearing masks this holiday weekend when indoors in crowds or when unable to social distance. Additionally, we advise frequent hand washing and staying home when ill. Seek testing if you suspect the illness is COVID-19 related.
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. We will be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.
West Nile Confirmed in the Central District
Grand Island, NE –West Nile Virus (WNV) was detected in the mosquito population in Hall County on Tuesday, August 24.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. In turn, mosquitoes pass the virus to humans. Viral activity has been low throughout the State this year. However, the Central District Health Department is urging everyone to take precautions.
Even though viral activity is low, the presence of West Nile Virus in the area does warrant some attention with mosquitoes, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. With the Nebraska State Fair currently underway and many spending more time outdoors, it’s important to know how to avoid West Nile Virus.
West Nile Virus deserves consideration as approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (i.e. transplant patients) are at the highest risk when infected with WNV. Most people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with West Nile Virus will not develop any type of illness (an asymptomatic infection), however you cannot know ahead of time if you'll get sick if you are infected.
The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET. Follow the directions on the package.
Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times, or consider staying indoors during these hours.
Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and, on their sides, when they aren't being used.
For more information contact the Central District Health Department at (308) 385-5175.
Grand Island – The Pfizer vaccine to protect against COVID-19 was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday for those 18 years of age and over. The vaccine continues to be available to children 12 – 17 years of age as part of an Emergency Use Authorization and is expected to be fully approved in the fall.
This approval will not affect regional availability of the vaccine. To date, over 92 million people in the United States have received the Pfizer vaccine of the 170 million Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The approval of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be marketed under the name Comirnaty, removes one more barrier for those who have been hesitant or have been waiting to receive their vaccination. With full FDA approval, the FDA has also released their safety and effectiveness data, facts sheets, frequently asked questions and much more information that you can find at www.fda.gov. There is no change in the vaccine from the Emergency Use Authorization up through FDA approval.
As cases in the Central District continue to rise and transmissibility remains dangerously high, vaccination is the best line of defense against COVID-19. As of today our positivity rate is 31% and more than 10 percent of hospital beds in our district are currently taken by those suffering from COVID-19.
As the summer ends and more activities begin to take place indoors, if you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination, it is important to get one as soon as possible. CDHD recommends a layered approach to prevention, including vaccine, masks, social distancing, staying home when ill, and frequent handwashing.
The Central District Health Department as well as pharmacies and doctor’s offices around the area offer the Pfizer vaccine during daily clinics. The Health Department is open from 9 am – 4:30 pm Mondays – Fridays with Thursday clinics running until 8 pm. We will also be at the Nebraska State Fair from Noon – 7 pm daily and have other clinics in the community over the next few weeks. Find out more at www.cdhd.ne.gov/COVID-19.
CDHD Offering Third Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine
Grand Island – Based on recent Center for Disease Control recommendations, the Central District Health Department will immediately begin offering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to those with weakened immune systems. We will also be offering third doses to those who are not immunocompromised beginning the third week of September.
We are currently offering third doses to those with the following conditions, per CDC guidelines:
-Those in active cancer treatment
-Those who have received an organ transplant or who are on suppressive medication
-Recipients of stem cell transplants in the last two years
-Those with severe primary immunodeficiency
-Those with advanced or untreated HIV
-Those with active treatment including high-dose corticosteroids
Anyone with these conditions or who believes they need a third dose should consult their primary physician before coming to the Health Department. The CDC states that those with weakened immune systems don’t always build the same level of immunity after vaccination.
In addition, studies are beginning to show the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine drops after 8 months, particularly against the Delta variant. Based on that recommendation we will be offering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the general public beginning the week of September 20th.
Vaccines are extremely important as they are the best defense against COVID-19, which continues to grow in our district. The district confirmed more than 100 cases of the virus in the last 7 days. Currently fewer than 4 in 10 residents in our district are currently vaccinated.
The Health Department offers vaccine clinics, including boosters, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Mondays – Fridays and 8:30 – 8 pm on Thursdays. Vaccines are offered at no cost to you. For more information contact the CDHD at (308) 385-5175.
The United Way and the Central District Health Department are teaming up to promote COVID-19 vaccination in our community.
A new campaign featuring community members stories about "why I got vaccinated" will be running on social media and in poster form through the end of August. In addition to the campaign, we are offering the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike a chance to tell their stories.
If you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, come to the Health Department from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Mondays - Fridays (8:30 am - 8 pm on Thursdays) to get your shot and be entered into a prize drawing at the end of August. Prizes include VISA gift cards, certificates to local businesses and more.
If you have been vaccinated, we want your story. You can come to the Health Department during business hours, get a photo and tell us why you got vaccinated and be entered into a separate raffle for prizes. This is your chance to tell the community why you are choosing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
You can find information on the COVID-19 vaccine from the Center for Disease Control here.
Vax Campaign 2
Vax Campaign 3
Vax Campaign 4
COVID-19 Update for the Week of July 27
Grand Island – COVID-19 numbers continue to grow in the Central District, with 54 new cases reported from July 17 – July 24. The period saw a positivity rate of 22% and no new reported deaths.
The new growth is largely among unvaccinated persons, though there has been some vaccine breakthrough, where someone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 tests positive for the virus. The district vaccination rate currently sits at under 40%
The growth is largely due to the Delta variant which is up to 40% more transmissible than previous strains. Those in younger demographics, including those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, are more likely to be affected by this variant.
The current numbers, based on data from the Center for Disease Control, means even vaccinated people should be more cautious. Today, the CDC released a recommendation that vaccinated people should wear masks in certain situations where transmission of COVID-19 could be considered “moderate” or “high”. You can find this new guidance at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
The Central District Health Department is currently in the process of redesigning our COVID-19 dashboard to provide information on vaccination rates and make the information more accessible to the public, which will be completed this week.
The best way to bring numbers down and protect yourself and those around you is to get a COVID-19 vaccination. In addition to our regular clinics running Mondays – Fridays, the CDHD and JBS of Grand Island are hosting a special clinic from 8 am – Noon on Saturday. Anyone who receives their first or second vaccination shot will receive 10 pounds of beef courtesy of JBS. No appointment is required.
Those who are eligible and have not yet been vaccinated should seek vaccinations as soon as possible. Vaccinations are available at CDHD on any weekday between 8:00am and 4:00pm, and on Thursdays from 8:00am to 8:00pm. Minors under age 19 need parental or guardian consent to receive their vaccinations. The vaccine is currently approved for children 12 and over. For more information call (308) 385-5175 or visit our website, www.cdhd.ne.gov.
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