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Tuesday Oct. 12 COVID-19 update: Cases falling but hospitalizations still high, health director reports

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 12:19 PM CDT
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(WOWT) - Below are today’s vaccination updates as well as data reports on new cases and other COVID-19 stats reported by health officials across Nebraska and western Iowa.

Keep scrolling to find helpful links and other information, including phone numbers to call for help getting signed up for your vaccine.

Westside schools to continue masking

Westside Community Schools said Tuesday it will extend its mask requirement at K-12 schools for an additional two weeks.

The policy is now set to expire Friday, Oct. 29.

The district noted that it has seen a “small decline in cases” over the past month. Positive cases peaked at 41 — 35 students and six staffers — the week of Aug. 23-29. The district has reported 16 cases for two weeks ending Oct. 10, but said Tuesday it already has eight confirmed cases reported for this week.

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department on Tuesday reported that three people had died of COVID-19 since Friday: two men and a woman older than age 75 — none of whom were vaccinated — had died.

The local death toll now stands at 804.

DCHD also reported 462 cases had been confirmed over the weekend and Monday, putting the local total at 84,974 positive cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The new positives bring the seven-day rolling average down from 153 to 139 cases.

Local hospitalization data fluctuates daily according to staffing levels. As of Monday afternoon, local hospitals were at 85% capacity, with 202 beds available; ICUs were 83% full with 49 beds available.

Of those patients, 193 are hospitalized with COVID-19 — including five pediatric patients; 63 of those patients are in ICUs, and 30 are on ventilators.

Additionally, 10 adult patients are awaiting COVID-19 tests.

Douglas County health director update

The Douglas County Health Director gave an update on local COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and vaccinations to the Douglas County Commissioners on Tuesday morning.

“I continue to have good news for you,” Dr. Lindsay Huse said at the top of her report.

CASES: She said Douglas County has been at 186.6 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days — and that’s the third week that’s been below 200.

“That is great news,” she said.

Dr. Huse reported that the average — 7.2% positivity — seems to not be plateauing but decreasing.

“Fingers crossed that that’s going to continue,” she said, cautioning that high transmission continues in the area, so preventative measures are still greatly encouraged.

In order to move lower on the transmission tracker, case counts need to drop under 100 per 100,000 and under 50 to move to moderate; and positivity needs to be at 5% to move down to “substantial.”

HOSPITALIZATIONS are still high, she said, and staffing continues to be a significant issue. As of Monday evening, local hospitals were 85% full with 202 of 1,372 beds available in the area.

“Some hospitals, certainly, do not have any beds at all to give for patients,” she said.

Additionally, 87% pediatric beds are occupied; of those, five are COVID-19 patients, but there are also other respiratory issues affecting the younger population, she said.

“It’s that time of year,” Dr. Huse said.

Elective surgeries do still continue to be on hold, Commissioner Dr. Maureen Boyle noted later in the meeting.

VENTILATORS: Ventilator use continues to rise, she said. Usage had been in the upper 20% range for some time, but now is in the upper 30% range, Dr. Huse said, noting that currently 38% of ventilators are in use. There are about 440 vents in the Omaha-metro area, she said, but not necessarily always able to staff to be able to run them.

“We have plenty of machines, may not necessarily plenty of people to run them, though,” Dr. Huse said.

DEATHS: Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh asked Dr. Huse about the breakdown of COVID-19 deaths in the county, noting that more men than women had died of COVID-19, according to the county dashboard, calling it “disproportionate.”

The data indicates that 57% of COVID-19 deaths in Douglas County have been men, while 43% of deaths have been women.

The data also indicates that in Douglas County, more women are vaccinated: 60.8% of those vaccinated are women, while 53.3% are men.

Douglas County’s COVID-19 dashboard breaks down the underlying conditions of those in the county who have died from COVID-19. Of the 804 deaths reported to date, 11.8% had no underlying conditions. The top underlying conditions reported include: cardiovascular, 39.4%; renal, 27%; neurological, 26.1%; respiratory, 21%; and diabetes, 18%. The lowest include cancer, 6.2%; obesity, 4.7%; stroke, 4.4%; immune, 1.9%; and liver, 1.6%.

VACCINATION BREAKTHROUGHS: The rate rose slightly from last week, from 1.1% to 1.2%, which means that of the 325,483 fully vaccinated in Douglas County, 3,931 reported a positive case.

The breakthrough death rate remains very small, she said: 0.009%.

VACCINATIONS: Vaccinations numbers spiked in late September as third dose or boosters.

In Douglas County, 18,730 third doses and boosters have been administered, she said. Of those, 17,829 were given to Douglas County residents.

Currently, 68.9% of Douglas County vaccine-eligible residents — or 57% of the population — are fully vaccinated, Dr. Huse said Tuesday. Youth vaccinations are on the decline, but 56.7% of those ages 12 and older are considered fully vaccinated.

The health department has been working with faith-based organizations to help increase vaccination rates in congregations and communities in north Omaha, where vaccination rates continue to be low, the health director said.

Dr. Huse noted that COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters don’t interfere with other vaccinations, and said that people should be sure to get their flu and shingles shots as planned.

LOOKING AHEAD: DCHD will be keeping an eye on the FDA meetings on Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses, slated for later this week.

If those approvals happen, Dr. Huse said, “we will make those available. That shouldn’t be difficult; we have a lot of stock.” If it’s not approved right away, more meetings will likely be scheduled.

The meeting about full approval of the pediatric Pfizer vaccination doses is slated for Oct. 26, she said, and the health department will be watching that very closely as well. The CDC would have to give its approvals after that, but if all approvals happen as they have been, Pfizer vaccinations may be available for ages 5-11 by Halloween or early November, she said.

The health department has been working with superintendents to be able to mobilize vaccination opportunities quickly once those approvals are in place, Dr. Huse said.

Commissioner Boyle asked when we might be coming to an end in terms of the pandemic, noting that COVID-19 will likely continue to be a part of everyday life. Dr. Huse said she had done some research on the topic and came up with informed speculation that we could come to this point in April of May — but she also noted that many thought the same thing about this past summer before the delta variant hit.

Watch the health director’s full report to the county

Lincoln-Lancaster County update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on Tuesday reported five COVID-19 deaths: two men in their 50s who were hospitalized and unvaccinated, a man in his 70s who was hospitalized and vaccinated, a man in his 80s who was in a long-term care facility and vaccinated, and a man in his 80s who was hospitalized and unvaccinated

The death toll in that area is now 301.

LLCHD also reported 77 new cases, bringing the total to 39,697 cases confirmed to date. There are 98 COVID-19 patients in the health district, and 19 of them are on ventilators.

Currently, LLCHD is reporting that 74.4% of residents ages 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

The area’s DHM, which includes a mask requirement, expires Oct. 28.

Self-tests make testing for COVID-19 easy. Check out CDC’s new videos for tips on performing a test at home and interpreting your results. Learn more: https://bit.ly/covid19-self-test.

Posted by CDC on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Vaccination clinics

Nebraska DHHS

Federal Retail Pharmacy Program: Pharmacies in and near the Omaha-metro area currently participating in the program include:

  • Medicine Man Pharmacy, 15615 Pacific St. Suite 8, Omaha NE 668118
  • Think Aksarben Pharmacy LLC, 7100 W. Center Road, Omaha NE 68106
  • ViaRx, 825 N. 90th St., Omaha NE 68114
  • Walmart, 3010 E. 23rd St., Fremont NE 68025

Retail pharmacy vaccine sign-ups: Baker’s | CVS | Hy-Vee | Kohll’s | Kubat | Sam’s Club | Walmart

Douglas County

Douglas County COVID-19 vaccination clinics are scheduled at several local schools and events this week:

TUESDAY
  • 4-8 p.m. at Andersen Middle School, located at 1504 Adams St.
  • 4-8 p.m. at Millard North Middle School, located at 2828 S. 139th St.
  • 11 Noon-4 p.m. at the health department office, located at 1111 S. 41st St.
WEDNESDAY
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Heart Ministry, located at 2222 Binney St.
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 5544 Ames Ave.
  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at UNO’s Criss Library, located at 6401 University Drive N; visitors are asked to park in Lot E
THURSDAY
  • 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the health department office, located at 1111 S. 41st St.
  • 3-5 p.m. at Fiserv/First Data, located at 7302 Pacific St.
FRIDAY
  • 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the health department office, located at 1111 S. 41st St.
OCT. 18

A free mobile clinic at the La Bonne Vie North “Share the Love” event will offer Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J doses to walk-ins from 2-4 p.m. at 6077 Ville De Sante Drive, near Life Care Center of Omaha.

Pfizer boosters

The Douglas County Health Department is distributing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination boosters at its clinics to those in certain groups:

  • Adults ages 65 and older
  • Long-term care facility residents
  • Adults ages 50-64 with underlying medical conditions that make put them at high risk of severe COVID-19
  • Adults ages 18-49 with certain conditions listed above, or who are otherwise at risk of severe COVID-19
  • Adults ages 18-64 whose jobs put them at high risk for COVID-19

The CDC is recommending booster doses be administered six months after receiving your second dose. Anyone with questions is advised to contact their healthcare provider for further guidance.

Underlying medical conditions that qualify for boosters include: cancer; chronic kidney disease; chronic lung diseases like COPD, moderate to severe asthma, interstitial lung disease, damaged or scarred lung tissue, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, etc.; certain neurological conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.; diabetes; Down syndrome; certain heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, hypertension; HIV/AIDS or others in immunocompromised states; liver disease like cirrhosis, liver scarring, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, etc.; those who are overweight or obese; pregnant and recently pregnant people who are 42 or more days past the end of their pregnancy; certain hemoglobin disorders like sickle cell disease, thalassemia, etc.; current or former smokers; recipients of organ, blood stem cell, or bone marrow transplants; cerebrovascular disease like stroke, etc.; and substance use disorders including alcohol, opioid, cocaine use disorders, etc.

Those occupations qualifying for boosters include: first-responders such as healthcare workers, firefighters, police, and congregate care staff; education staff such as teachers, support staff, daycare workers; food and agricultural workers; manufacturing workers; corrections workers; U.S. Postal workers; public transit workers; grocery store workers; and residents of homeless shelters or correctional facilities.

Nebraska Medicine

Nebraska Medicine is offering COVID-19 vaccinations at clinics in several retail pharmacies and health centers around the Omaha-metro.

NebMed will provide Pfizer vaccinations by appointment at:

For those looking for walk-in appointments, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccinations will be available at these pharmacies:

  • Outpatient Pharmacy at Bellevue Health Center, located at 25th Street and Highway 370, will offer J&J vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
  • Outpatient Pharmacy at Durham Outpatient Center, located at 45th and Emile streets, will offer J&J vaccinations from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays; and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the weekends.

Children’s Hospital

  • Tuesday and Thursday appointments available at the Mission Village location, 16909 Q St. Call 402-955-7575 or 402-955-SHOT (7468) for available times.
  • Thursday and Friday appointments available at the Dundee location, 4825 Dodge St. Call 402-955-7676 or 402-955-SHOT (7468) for available times.

Around Omaha

SOUTH OMAHA: Testing and vaccinations available at OneWorld, located at 4920 S. 30th St. Call 402-734-4110 to make an appointment for vaccinating anyone age 12 and older.

CHARLES DREW HEALTH CENTER: Call 402-451-3553 to schedule an appointment.

CHURCH CLINIC: Metropolitan Community Chuch of Omaha will host a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. No ID is required, but a parent or guardian must be present at the clinic with teens ages 12-18.

MCC FORT OMAHA: Vaccinations also will be distributed Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha campus, located at 5300 N. 30th St. Appointments will be made through the county’s vaccination registry.

TOTAL WELLNESS: DCHD has been working with Total Wellness, located at 9320 H Court, to establish a vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

VETERANS: Any eligible veterans can go to the Omaha VA Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics’ walk-in hours from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at the new Ambulatory Care Center.

Sarpy/Cass health district

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department offers COVID-19 vaccinations at its offices, located at 701 Olson Drive in Papillion:

  • Tuesdays: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 1-6 p.m.

The health department offers the following vaccines at its clinics:

  • First and second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single doses
  • Additional doses of Pfizer and Moderna for immunocompromised people
  • Pfizer booster

Three Rivers health district

  • In Dodge County, the Three Rivers Fremont location is open for walk-ins from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday.
  • In Saunders County, the Three Rivers clinic in Lake Wanahoo is open to walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of the month.
  • In Washington County, the clinic at First Lutheran Church in Blair is open to walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.
Off-line help

CHI HEALTH VACCINE INFORMATION: The info line is available at 402-717-1255 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily in August.

NEBRASKA VACCINE HOTLINE: Nebraskans can call 531-249-1873 or toll-free at 833-998-2275 for more information on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination process.

DOUGLAS COUNTY HELPLINE: Local COVID-19 information, in Spanish and English, is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, except for holidays. Call 402-444-3400 for assistance.

IOWA VACCINE HOTLINE: Older or home-bound Iowans looking for help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination appointment can call 1-866-468-7887 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; or contact Connections Area Agency on Aging at 712-328-2540 or 1-800-432-9209.

Resource links

Where to get a test: Douglas County

Vaccine sign-up: Douglas County | Sarpy/Cass | Three Rivers | Nebraska

Vaccinations at hospitals: Nebraska Medicine | Methodist Hospital | Children’s Hospital

Retail pharmacy vaccine sign-ups: Hy-Vee | Walmart | Sam’s Club | Baker’s | Kohll’s | CVS | Kubat

Vaccine information: Douglas County | Douglas County clinics | Nebraska || Iowa | Pottawattamie County | Mills County | Fremont County

COVID-19 dashboards: Douglas County | Sarpy County | Three Rivers Health District | Lancaster County | Nebraska | Iowa | Worldwide

School info: Omaha Public Schools | Millard Public Schools | Bellevue Public Schools | Westside Community Schools | Gretna Public Schools | Elkhorn Public Schools | Council Bluffs Community Schools | Lincoln Public Schools | UNL | UNO | Midland University

COVID-19 risk dials: Lincoln-Lancaster County

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