Tuesday Nov. 2 COVID-19 update: Health director reports increase in cases among youth

Douglas County initially expecting 20,000 pediatric vaccinations once CDC authorizes Pfizer doses
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 11:51 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 12:53 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.

DCHD health director report to county commissioners

Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse, appearing remotely, told the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that while cases have been declining in the past several weeks, the numbers have climbed back up a little bit in the past week.

It hasn’t been a fast decline, but the trend seems to have plateaued again, she said.

The county is still hitting the high-transmission category with a seven-day average of 186.2 cases per 100,000 people. The positivity rate is 9.6%, up from around 7.8% two weeks ago.

“So we’re not out of the woods yet,” she said. “...We still have a fair amount of COVID in our community.”

She notes the positivity rate doesn’t include people who are testing at home and those who are symptomatic but don’t test.

CASES: The highest proportion of local cases has been happening in kids and adolescents, Dr. Huse said Tuesday. There had been a slight decline in youth age groups, she said, but that trend reversed starting in mid-October, with the greatest proportion of cases now happening in kids ages 5-9.

Douglas County COVID-19 age breakdown from Aug. 21 to Oct. 30, 2021. The county's health...
Douglas County COVID-19 age breakdown from Aug. 21 to Oct. 30, 2021. The county's health director said Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, that the greatest increase in positive COVID-19 cases since mid-October has been in youth ages 5-9, represented on the chart in yellow.(Douglas County Health Director / WOWT)

“The good news is that we have a vaccine that’s coming hopefully in the next week or two. So hopefully we will be able to start addressing this very soon for this age group,” she said.

Dr. Huse said officials are still seeing clusters within school districts and that the health department has been working with those districts to mitigate spread.

Cases continue to cluster in the Millard, Elkhorn, and Bennington corridor and through the central part of the county, she said.

Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, that new cases...
Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, that new cases continue to cluster in the Millard, Elkhorn, and Bennington areas as well as straight through the central part of the county.(Douglas County Health Department / WOWT)

Dr. Huse said the health department had been in contact with Millard Public Schools officials last week regarding the spike in cases at Black Elk Elementary.

Noting the health department doesn’t close schools, she said DCHD talked with members of the district’s health service department and with the superintendent on Friday about the number of people being sent home.

“They are taking, I think, a very good approach to trying to get this under control,” Dr. Huse said. “We will continue to... work closely with them and also monitor cases that continue to occur even during that closure.”

Several schools had more than one classroom closure, but this is the first school closure during this academic year, she said.

Dr. Huse said she was informed that staffing was also an issue, as a number of teachers out with COVID-19 or because their children out with COVID-19.

TESTING: COVID-19 testing remains a challenge since Test Nebraska went away, Dr. Huse said.

Nomi Health has been operating a site in west Omaha, at Oak View Mall, but that has been a challenging location for many residents, so two other test sites have been made available at Metro Community College campuses: Fort Omaha and South Omaha. Those free testing sites run six days a week — they are closed Sundays — but do ask for health insurance information when it is available.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Douglas County continues to be “very high,” Dr. Huse said.

“Predominantly, the sicker patients are more likely to be unvaccinated,” she said.

Hospitals have been struggling with fear and exhaustion as capacity has been holding in the upper 80%, and even at and above 90% for several days last week, Dr. Huse said, noting that was alarming.

Hospitals are struggling to take care of patients, she said.

DEATHS: Seven deaths were reported last week, and five of those people were unvaccinated.

Those who have been vaccinated but are hospitalized or die tend to be quite elderly or have or encounter a situation where their immune system is compromised, Dr. Huse said.

VACCINATIONS: The county finally cleared the 70% mark for vaccinations across the eligible population, with 70.1% of those ages 12 and older considered fully vaccinated, the health director reported Tuesday. That translates to 58% of the total county population who is fully vaccinated.

“We finally hit that benchmark for at least our eligible population. And of course, our eligible population is changing imminently, so we are hoping that we are going to be able to start giving vaccine to our 5 to 11 residents very soon,” Dr. Huse said.

Once Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccination clears the CDC, the county will have to order and receive pediatric-formulated doses — they won’t come from existing stock, she said.

“All those logistics are in motion right now,” she said. “We are hoping sometime early to mid-next week, we should hopefully be able to start giving vaccines. I just don’t have a date for you on that yet.”

Vaccination among younger populations has slowed a bit, she said, but that could pick up again once the younger age group is authorized to receive it.

Meanwhile, DCHD is working with schools and community partners to formulate a rollout plan for youth and combat vaccine hesitancy. Dr. Huse said she had heard anecdotally that those waiting this long into the vaccine eligibility timeframe to get their first dose that the information — from their doctor, or even just someone they know — was finally able to click for them.

Dr. Huse estimated the county has about 60,000 kids in the 5-11 age group, and said that the state will likely provide about 20,000 doses to start with. Other plans are very fluid, changing sometimes hour-to-hour, she said.

VACCINE BREAKTHROUGH: The vaccination breakthrough remains 1.5%. Three weeks ago, it was 1.2%. The death rate has been 0.01%.

Watch Dr. Huse’s presentation to the board

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department reported Tuesday that 236 positive cases were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the seven-day average up from 153 to 156 cases.

DCHD has reported 87,822 positive COVID-19 cases to date.

The local death toll stands at 828.

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. As of Monday afternoon, hospitals were 83% full, down from 85% reported Sunday, with 212 beds available, up from 203 available on Sunday. ICUs were 83% full, compared to 91% on Friday, with 49 beds still available.

DCHD reported a slight decrease in COVID-19 patients in local hospitals. As of Monday afternoon, there were 201 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, including five pediatric patients. Those COVID-19 hospitalizations were down from 203 reported Monday but up from 191 reported Friday and 177 on Thursday. As of Monday afternoon, 70 COVID-19 patients were still being cared for in ICUs, up from 65 reported Friday; 41 of those patients are on ventilators, up from 40 reported Monday, and 32 on Friday.

Additionally, four adult patients are awaiting COVID-19 test results.

Bryan Health update

Bryan Health in Lincoln reported Tuesday that it was caring for 64 COVID-19 patients, one more than Monday; with 11 patients on ventilators.

Thirteen more patients are awaiting COVID-19 test results.

The health system also reported it was caring for 14 pediatric patients, one of whom has COVID-19.

Lincoln-Lancaster County update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department reported two COVID-19 deaths Tuesday: a man in his 30s who wasn’t vaccinated and a woman in her 70s who was vaccinated.

The local death toll is now 316.

LLCHD also reported 54 more cases of COVID-19, bringing the local total to 41,591. With the positivity rate back above 10%, the health department on Tuesday raised the risk dial from yellow to low-orange, meaning the risk of spreading COVID-19 and the impact on the community is high.

Local hospitals are caring for 100 COVID-19 patients, 15 of them on ventilators.

Having met its goal of vaccinating 75% of the eligible population, the health department said Tuesday it would now focus on vaccinating 75% of the entire local population. As of Tuesday, 61% of the total population was fully vaccinated.

Anticipating the authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, LLCHD has opened registration for youth vaccinations via its portal; or you can call 402-441-4200 if you don’t have online access. Those registered will be contacted to schedule an appointment once pediatric vaccine is available.

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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:

  • Noon-4 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st St.
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Heart Ministry, located at 2222 Binney St. – This clinic will offer Pfizer shots only.
  • 1-6 p.m., drive through CHI Health Center Lot D, off Abbott Drive
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st St.
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st St.
  • 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. at Skinner Magnet Center, located 4303 N. 33rd St. – This clinic will offer Moderna shots only.

Today's #Covid19 Update is right here: https://www.douglascountyhealth.com/latest-news #Omaha #NECOVID19 #inthistogether

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Monday, November 1, 2021

DCHD booster plan

All Douglas County Health Department pop-up clinics will offer only Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccinations, but once Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are authorized, the health department plans to have all three available at its in-house and drive-through clinics.

Booster shots are recommended for people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and are:

  • ages 65 and older
  • anyone age 18 and older who lives in a long-term care setting
  • anyone age 18 and older who has underlying medical conditions
  • anyone age 18 and older who lives or works in a high-risk setting

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

Boosters are also recommended for those who received the J&J vaccine at least two months ago, according to the health department.

Those with questions about boosters, particularly those with questions about underlying medical conditions or being in a high-risk setting, are advised to contact their healthcare providers or call the DCHD Information Line at 402-444-3400.

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 “high-risk” 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 first and second doses of Pfizer and Modern vaccines, Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single doses, and booster doses of all three vaccines.

Sarpy/Cass boosters

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department has three clinics planned for the coming weeks, with first and second vaccinations and booster doses — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Appointments are encouraged, but not required.

  • Saturday, Oct. 30: The clinic will run from 9-11 a.m. at the Cass County Fairgrounds Exposition Building, 8420 144th St. in Weeping Water.
  • Monday, Nov. 1: The clinic will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Plattsmouth Senior Center, 308 S. 18th St.
  • Friday, Nov. 5: The clinic will run from 10 a.m.-noon at Bellevue Senior Center, 109 W. 22nd Ave.

Three Rivers health district

  • In Dodge County, the Three Rivers Fremont location, at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave., is open for walk-ins from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; and noon to 3:30 p.m. Friday.
  • In Saunders County, the Three Rivers clinic in Lake Wanahoo, at 1320 E. 31st St., is open to walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the first and third 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

WOWT.com quick search: COVID-19 | Coronavirus | Vaccine

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