Wednesday Nov. 17 COVID-19 update: Douglas County health director gives weekly report

Officials provide an update on the Moderna vaccine booster shot.
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:51 PM CST
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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.

Nebraska data snapshot

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday updated its data on hospital capacity as well as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and vaccinations.

CASES: DHHS reported an additional 6,149 cases — 589 of them delta variants — of COVID-19 since last week, bringing the total number of verified cases for the state to 299,149, including 6,993 variant cases.

As of Sunday, the state’s positivity had risen to 11.8%, up only slightly from last week; two weeks ago, it was 10.3%, and a month ago, it was 8.3%. The state reported 545 more COVID-19 tests administered in the past week — a total of 63,277 for the week — compared to the week before.

DEATHS: DHHS reported 37 COVID-19 deaths since the week prior, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 2,593. Last week, 48 COVID-19 deaths were reported across the state; a month ago, there were four.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: The state’s health department reported 62 more COVID-19 hospitalizations this week after a decrease of two last week. At 477 patients, it’s the highest number of patients since mid-January.

As of Wednesday, there were 350 adult COVID-19 patients, up from 275 reported last week and 240 the week before that; 120 of them in ICUs, which is 14 fewer than last week. The state also reported seven pediatric COVID-19 patients, up one from the previous week. Tuesday’s pediatric COVID-19 ICU patient data was not available.

Overall hospital occupancy, which is based on staffing levels, worsened for adult patients but improved for pediatric patients across the state this week. Last week, 78% of 3,208 adult beds were occupied, while 80% of 229 pediatric beds were filled. As of Tuesday, DHHS reported 79% of 3,228 adult beds were occupied, while 71% of 237 pediatric beds were filled.

More pediatric ICU beds were also available this week, but fewer adult beds. As of Tuesday, 86% (of 476) adult beds were filled, compared with 87% (of 482) adult beds occupied last week; and 78% (of 189) pediatric ICU beds available, compared with 73% (of 190) pediatric beds filled last week.

VACCINATIONS: Currently, 69.4% of Nebraskans ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated — a 0.4% increase from last week. There were 27,852 COVID-19 vaccinations administered in the past week, according to the DHHS data.

VACCINATION BREAKTHROUGHS: No new breakthrough data was available this week.

Bryan Health update

Bryan Health in Lincoln reported Wednesday that it was caring for 61 COVID-19 patients, down from 69 reported Tuesday, with 14 patients awaiting COVID-19 test results. Of those, 11 are on ventilators — one fewer than reported Tuesday.

Additionally, the Bryan hospitals are caring for 16 pediatric patients; none are confirmed to have COVID-19, but one has a test pending.

Lincoln-Lancaster update

Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department reported 176 confirmed cases on Wednesday, bringing the community total to 43,314 cases.

Also on Wednesday, LLCHD reported there were 97 COVID-19 patients in local hospitals — 10 fewer than were reported Tuesday — with 12 on ventilators.

Currently, 61.3% of eligible Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated, the health department said Wednesday.

Pottawattamie County data snapshot

Iowa Department of Public Health updated its county-by-county data this week on Wednesday. As of data collected through Tuesday, Pottawattie County had a 15.1% positivity rate, down from 16.6% the week prior; with 228 positive tests confirmed in the last seven days; by comparison, the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 10.2%, up from 9.4% reported last week.

The county was showing a stagnant vaccination rate — 55.7% — among those ages 12 and older, according to IDPH data. That still amounts to 47% of the county’s total population.

Of the 25 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals, two were fully vaccinated — both ages 60-69. Ages 50-59 were still the largest group of hospitalizations — 10 patients, none of whom were vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, there were nine COVID-19 patients in county ICUs. At that time, there were 8.5% of hospital beds available: 17 in-patient beds and four ICU beds.

The county has lost six more people to COVID-19 in the past week, bringing the death toll to 211.

Iowa virus cases lead to rise in hospitalizations, ICU cases

(AP) - State data shows hospitalizations, people in intensive care and deaths from COVID-19 are all up in Iowa.

The information released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health data says 544 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 123 who are in intensive care.

The latest report posted 102 deaths, which the agency says occurred between Sept. 15 and Nov. 11. The state is now reporting 7,268 deaths.

Iowa is 15th in the nation for the death rate in the past week with 3.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

DCHD health director report

The Douglas County Health Director expressed a great deal of frustration during her weekly update to the county Board of Health at its regular meeting Wednesday morning.

CASES: Dr. Lindsay Huse told the board that the county is seeing its highest peak so far for the COVID-19 delta variant wave, which started when she first became health director here. That’s not a surprise, she said, given what health officials are seeing globally.

Transmission is happening most among the younger age groups — they are driving the spike, Dr. Huse said. The majority of the most recent local cases are happening in those ages 19 and younger, but cases among those in their 20s and 30s are also increasing, she said, noting that this would be the age group many parents of young children would fall into.

“If you’re in a mask optional district, getting your kids vaccinated is a great way to keep your kids in school,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of classroom closures; we’re seeing a lot of classrooms closures in a building keep accumulating.”

All of Black Elk Elementary had been closed for two weeks because of an outbreak that left at least one student hospitalized with the virus for a time. That school returned to in-person learning this week.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: With patient occupancy sitting around 90% for some time, hospital staff are “basically maxed out,” Dr. Huse said Wednesday. With flu season here, that’s a big concern, she said.

Even though county hospitals are seeing fewer COVID-19 patients than last year — there were 435 COVID-19 hospitalizations and hospitals were at 80% capacity on Nov. 17, 2020 — there are higher capacity levels now because there are fewer staffed beds, Dr. Huse said.

That also means staff are taking on way more patients than they normally would — a scary situation going into flu season, she said. And while not all the patients are COVID-19 patients, many of the beds are occupied by patients who delayed procedures during the past year (or two) because of the pandemic, she said.

ICUs are also seeing high levels of use, meaning people are staying sicker longer. COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized longer, she said, and ventilator use has also spiked.

BREAKTHROUGH CASES: Vaccine breakthrough cases also continue to rise. Dr. Huse said this isn’t surprising as not everyone has been able to — or wanted to — get booster shots. With the vaccine efficacy waning over time, more of those who had been vaccinated will become breakthrough cases. Currently, the county has seen 5,887 breakthrough cases, accounting for 1.8% of fully vaccinated residents.

No new data was available for COVID-19 breakthrough deaths, which accounted for 0.01% of vaccinated residents as of last Thursday.

VACCINATIONS: The county is getting a limited number of pediatric COVID-19 vaccination doses right now, Dr. Huse said. Shipments here are being shared with Children’s Hospital and the health department’s pediatric vaccination clinics, many at schools.

Dr. Huse said they are seeing some parents getting vaccinated along with their kids, but no specific data was available on those parents.

The county isn’t yet tracking the percent of vaccinations among all eligible age groups, 5 and older, she said. But 71% of the population ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated; that accounts for 58.7% of the total population.

Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse gives updates on COVID-19 in the area and rising hospitalization rates.

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department on Wednesday reported a COVID-19 death: A vaccinated woman in her 60s with multiple underlying conditions has died, bringing the local COVID-19 death toll to 847.

DCHD also confirmed 233 COVID-19 cases in the past day, bringing the local total to 90,612 cases to date and bringing the seven-day average up to 201 cases from 199.

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. As of Tuesday afternoon, local hospitals were 89% full with 160 beds available, which is four fewer than were available the day prior. ICU beds were 90% full, with 30 beds available, which is five fewer than were available the previous day.

Local hospitals were caring for 230 patients with COVID-19 on Tuesday, up 32 patients from the previous day — and the highest since January. Of those patients, 60 are still in ICUs, with 25 on ventilators — three fewer ventilated patients than the day prior.

In addition, four adults are awaiting COVID-19 test results.

All fully-vaccinated Kansans now eligible for boosters

(WIBW) - Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday that all fully-vaccinated Kansans are now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots.

This puts the state of Kansas ahead of federal health officials. The CDC plans to discuss whether all adults should be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine booster shot Friday.

Experts are working hard to understand how well the COVID-19 vaccines are working for different populations. Boosters...

Posted by CDC on Wednesday, November 17, 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

Below is a list of the Douglas County COVID-19 vaccination clinics scheduled for this week, including child vaccination clinics at area schools. All clinics are open to the public for any approved shot in the vaccination series. Those planning to get a booster shot should bring their vaccination card.

  • 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 5544 Ames Ave. – Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available.
  • 1-6 p.m. drive-through clinic at CHI Health Center arena’s Lot D, located off Abbott Drive – All three vaccines available.
  • 5-7 p.m. at Gateway Elementary, located at 5610 S. 42nd St. – Pfizer vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Beadle Middle School, located at 18201 Jefferson St. – Pfizer vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. in the cafeteria at DC West High School, located at 401 S. Pine St. in Valley, Neb. – Pfizer vaccines available.
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department clinic, located at 1111 S. 41st St. – All three vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Kiewett Middle School, located at 15650 Howard St. – Pfizer vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at George Russell Middle School, 5304 S. 172nd St. – Pfizer vaccines available.
  • 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. drive-through clinic at CHI Health Center arena’s Lot D, located off Abbott Drive – All three vaccines available.
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Westside Middle School, located at 8601 Arbor St. – Pfizer vaccines available.

Health department officials said they are planning additional clinics at schools throughout the county in coming weeks, according to the DCHD release. State health officials said Wednesday that they’re expecting 64,200 initial doses of children’s vaccine — enough to cover nearly 35% of Nebraska children in the 5-11 age range.

Today's #Covid19 Update is right here: #Omaha #NECOVID19 #inthistogether

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

In-home appointments

DCHD is helping those homebound to get vaccinated, scheduling in-home appointments for all three adult vaccination varieties, for any shot in the series.

To arrange this, call the DCHD information helpline at 402-444-3400.

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.

OneWorld child vaccination clinics

OneWorld is offering pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations, for children ages 5-11, at the following clinics:

OneWorld will also offer children’s COVID-19 vaccinations at school health centers:

Walk-ins are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis; or you can call 402-734-4110 to make an appointment.

Children’s Hospital

Children’s Hospital is planning to offer dedicated COVID-19 vaccination clinics for about a month, starting by Thursday, Nov. 11 — or sooner, if they are supplied the doses before that.

  • 5-7 p.m. Thursdays at West Village Pointe and Spring Valley offices
  • 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays at West Village Pointe and Spring Valley offices

After Saturday, Dec. 11, pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations will be available by appointment at any Children’s Hospital location.

  • 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.

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.

Sarpy/Cass child vaccination clinics

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department has scheduled vaccination clinics for all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including pediatric doses:

  • 1-3 p.m. at Louisville Public Schools, located at 202 W. 3rd St.

Appointments are recommended but not required.

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.

Three Rivers health district

Three Rivers Public Health Department is giving out boosters to those in certain risk categories who have had Pfizer vaccinations. It is also working with area businesses and schools to provide plan more COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Three pediatric vaccination clinics have been set up for children ages 5-11:

The health department has the necessary forms posted on their website, for minors and adults, for those who would like to fill them out ahead of their visit.

3RPHD’s regular clinics will continue:

  • In Dodge County, the Three Rivers clinic at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave. in Fremont, 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, located 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.

Those who are home-bound or require special accommodations but need a COVID-19 test or vaccine can contact the health district at 402-704-2245 to make arrangements.

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 | Papillion-La Vista 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 quick search: COVID-19 | Coronavirus | Vaccine

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously reported Pottawattamie County data in a brief about a Lincoln hospital system. 6 News regrets the error.

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