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319 new cases of COVID-19 report, Two Rivers “overwhelmed” with case investigations
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319 new cases of COVID-19 report, Two Rivers “overwhelmed” with case investigations

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Risk Dial 9-9-21

The risk dial is further raised within the ‘elevated risk’ section this week. The raised dial level reflects the continuing increase in cases and hospitalization rates, reduced testing availability, constrained contact tracing and the rising incidence among younger residents.

LEXINGTON — The Two Rivers Public Health Department is quickly becoming “overwhelmed,” with COVID-19 case investigations as 319 new cases were reported last week.

7-day rolling averages for the week of Sept. 3-9 include:

• Buffalo County – 54.1 daily cases per 100,000 residents

• Dawson County – 47.2 daily cases per 100,000 residents

• Franklin County – 0 daily cases per 100,000 residents

• Gosper County – 79 daily cases per 100,000 residents

• Harlan County – 16.9 daily cases per 100,000 residents

• Kearney County – 24.2 daily cases per 100,000 residents

• Phelps County – 42.7 daily cases per 100,000 residents

“Two Rivers Public Health Department is quickly becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 case investigations. Due to this, positive individuals under 18, and 70 and older are being contacted as time allows,” according to a Two Rivers press release, “Every person who is positive for COVID-19 will receive a letter with isolation and quarantine recommendations.”

“It should be noted that when a test is completed, the testing facility/healthcare provider is responsible for notifying the person of the test results,” according to Two Rivers, “The facility then enters the results into the system that goes to the State of Nebraska reporting center. Once those test results are received by the state, Two Rivers is then notified of positive tests.”

“Unfortunately, this process can take 48-72 hours to complete,” according to Two Rivers.

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The COVID-19 risk dial for the district was also increased further into the ‘elevated’ area and is nearing the ‘pandemic’ level.

COVID-19 cases have increased by 30 percent per week since Aug. 1, Two Rivers noted, over two thirds of these cases are among people less than 40 years old.

Around 1,200 positive cases were detected in Buffalo County in the past 6 months. Over 60 percent of those positive cases, 747 positive results were recorded since Aug. 1, according to Two Rivers.

Around 390 cases were detected in Dawson County in the past six months, of these 247, 60 percent, tested positive since Aug. 1.

COVID-19 related hospitalizations now account for around 20 percent of medical and surgical bed occupancy, at the same time, ICU staffing capacity has fallen by 10 percent across the district in the past two months.

“Limited supply of COVID testing reagents across the nation has created additional barriers and delays in ensuring universal testing even as contact tracing activities have been scaled down across the state,” according to Two Rivers.

As of Sept. 6, 43 percent of the Two Rivers total population has been fully vaccinated.

Of Dawson and Gosper counties total populations, 53 percent and 49 percent respectively have been fully vaccinated as of Sept. 6.

“In light of rising incidence rates connected to the newer delta variant, Two Rivers strongly urges all unvaccinated vaccine-eligible residents to avail of the COVID-19 vaccination through their healthcare provider, pharmacy or TRPHD. For schedule of vaccination clinics, see www.trphd.org.”

For these reasons, the risk dial is further raised within the ‘elevated risk’ section this week. The raised dial level reflects the continuing increase in cases and hospitalization rates, reduced testing availability, constrained contact tracing and the rising incidence among younger residents.

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services weekly COVID-19 update, there are 379 active hospitalizations, up 37 from the prior week and there have been 2,353 deaths due to COVID-19.

There have also been 3,324 variants of concern identified among Nebraska residents, up 196 from prior week.

“Coronavirus deaths in the United States continue to rise, but hospitalizations and reports of new cases are starting to level off or decline,” according to the New York Times, “Around 1,500 coronavirus deaths are being reported across the country each day, the most since winter. More than 650,000 deaths have been linked to the pandemic in the United States.”

“The pace of vaccination had been trending steadily upward until the Labor Day holiday as more employers announced mandates. Three-quarters of American adults have started the vaccination process,” according to the New York Times.

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