Wednesday Dec. 1 COVID-19 update: Nebraska hospitals raise alarm on patient capacity, urge vaccinations

UNL planning to do random testing in spring semester
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 1:46 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 health officials give update on hospital capacity

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services joined doctors and officials from several Nebraska hospital systems in a livestream Wednesday afternoon to talk about the impact COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity across the state.

Nebraska hospitals are at capacity, they said, dealing with a record number of patients, and doctors here say it’s because of an overwhelming number of young people refusing to get vaccinated.

The strain is tremendous as the number of COVID-19 patients climbs, they said, one doctor noting that because of the spike in cases, patients with other ailments can hardly get in to see a doctor.

“We’re trying the tell you what’s happening on our side: We’re inundated. We’re struggling to take care of the people that come to our hospitals. We’re struggling to take care of the people who don’t have COVID, who have a heart attack or a stroke or whatever. So, peaceful dialogue among family is what I would advocate.”

But what’s most concerning, they said, was that the sickest patients on ventilators are trending younger — something that’s taking a toll on healthcare workers and their families.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our communities, the story of hospital capacity has remained much the same. What has changed, though, is the story of the patients. The sickest patients on ventilators are no longer older individuals, but young adults ranging in age from 18-40. It’s an alarming trend frontline workers need your help sharing with our communities,” state officials said in a release ahead of the livestream.

Data shows surging hospitalizations among the unvaccinated in Nebraska. In the Methodist Health System, every single patient in the ICU is a COVID-19 patient.

“What I see is that the most devastating is the continued despair and anguish that these poor families have to go through, watching their loved ones progress through the slow decompensation, or sometimes the fast decompensation, towards intubation or lifelong permanent injury or death,” said Dr. Adam Wells, Methodist Hospital’s ICU medical director.

Also participating in Wednesday’s livestream were: Nebraska DHHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Anthone; DHHS Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Donahue; CHI Health Director of Critical Care Dr. Robert Plambeck; Methodist Hospital ICU Medical Director Dr. Adam Wells; and Nebraska Medicine Section Chief for Critical Care Medicine Dr. Brian Boer.

UNL plans random testing in spring

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green announced Wednesday that starting in the spring semester, the university will randomly test all students, faculty, and staff for COVID-19 regardless of their vaccination status.

Green outlined the process in a letter to students, faculty, and staff: “If you are selected for random testing in a given week, it is required that you complete it by the end of that week. You will be notified via email the week prior. There will also be a notification in your Safer Community app.”

The university is also planning flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics next Wednesday, Dec. 8, on both UNL campuses.

“I have been exceedingly proud of how our campus has adjusted and managed through an incredibly difficult pandemic. We have been agile, compassionate and stayed focused on our mission of providing an outstanding university experience,” Green said in the letter.

WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30

Sarpy/Cass urges precautions

The Sarpy/Cass Health Department said Wednesday that it is seeing “sustained high levels of community transmission” in the area and encouraged residents to get vaccinated and take precautions known to prevent spread of the virus.

“Getting vaccinated or receiving a booster dose when eligible is the best thing residents can do to protect themselves, their families, friends and community from COVID-19,” SCHD said in a news release. “...The Health Department continues to encourage residents to practice physical distancing from others that live outside of their home, utilize a cloth face covering when indoors, stay home when ill, get tested for COVID-19 if experience symptoms, and if eligible get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster.”

The health department offers COVID-19 vaccinations at its offices, located at 701 Olson Drive in Papillion on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1-6 p.m. It also has several clinics planned at area schools:

  • THURSDAY: 4-6 p.m. at Weeping Water Public Schools, located 204 W. O St.
  • FRIDAY: 4-7 p.m. at Gretna Middle School, 11705 S. 216th St.
  • MONDAY: 3-5 p.m. at Springfield Community Center, 104 Main St.; and 4-6 p.m. at Bellevue Lied Activity Center, 2700 Arboretum Drive

Visit the health department website for more clinics, registration, and other vaccination information.

Bryan Health update

Bryan Health in Lincoln reported Wednesday that it was caring for 63 COVID-19 patients, one more than a day prior. A dozen of those patients are on ventilators, their report states.

The health system said it is also caring for seven pediatric patients, but none have COVID-19.

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department on Wednesday again reported two COVID-19 deaths: an unvaccinated man in his 70s and a vaccinated man in his 60s bring the local death toll to 859.

DCHD also confirmed 388 new positive COVID-19 cases in the past day, bringing the local case total to 93,872. A year ago, DCHD reported 586 new positive cases.

The rolling seven-day average is 251 cases, up from 239 reported a day earlier. A week ago, it was 237. A month ago it was 153, but it hasn’t been below 100 cases since Aug. 3.

“Now is the time to remember what we did last year to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said in Wednesday’s release. “Wash your hands, stay home when you’re sick, wear a mask in public places, and please choose to be vaccinated.”

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. As of Tuesday afternoon, local hospitals were 91% full with 129 beds available, down from 231 on Monday and 310 on Sunday. ICU beds were also still 91% full, with 28 beds still available, down from 45 reported two days ago.

Douglas County hospitals were caring for 276 patients with COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon, up slightly from 274 the day prior — levels not reported since January. The number of ICU patients rose from 98 to 102, up from 75 a week ago and 64 two weeks ago. Of those hospitalized with the virus, four were pediatric COVID-19 patients, down from 10 reported a day prior.

Of the current patients, 53 are on ventilators, down from the record number of 57 reported a day earlier.

Additionally, three adults are awaiting COVID-19 test results, DCHD said.

To date, 71.9% of residents ages 12 and older are vaccinated; that translates to 59.7% of the community. As of Wednesday, 21.6% of local children ages 5-11 have had their first pediatric COVID-19 vaccination, with 2.2% of local kids considered fully vaccinated.

“Our local hospitals, in and around Douglas County, need your help,” the health department said in its Wednesday update. “The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) is asking you to consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Lincoln-Lancaster update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department reported a COVID-19 death Wednesday: an unvaccinated man in his 50s died, bringing the county’s death toll to 330.

The health department also confirmed another 153 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the local case total to 45,041. LLCHD also reported area hospitals were caring for 102 COVID-19 patients, six less than reported Tuesday.

Currently, 62% of Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated.

Iowa coronavirus hospitalizations top 700, new yearly high

(AP) - Iowa hospitalizations from the coronavirus have reached a high for this year with 721 people being treated in hospitals.

The last time hospitalizations reached that level was mid-December of 2020 when the state was coming down from the historic peak of COVID-19 activity in November. Hospitalizations peaked at more than 1,500 patients in mid-November 2020.

Iowa Department of Public Health data released Wednesday indicates 10 children age 11 or younger are in the hospital. All are unvaccinated. An additional unvaccinated child between ages 12 and 17 is hospitalized.

The state also confirmed 91 additional deaths in the past week, with some dating back to mid-September. Iowa officials report a total of 7,445 COVID-19 deaths.

Listen to what the man says...please.

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Please consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t yet. A message from Tom Osborne ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️

Posted by Three Rivers Public Health Department, Nebraska on Wednesday, December 1, 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
  • 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.-1 p.m. at Heart Ministry Center, located at 2222 Binney St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 5-7 p.m. at Bryan Middle School, located at 8210 S. 42nd St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 5-7 p.m. at Benson High Magnet School, located at 5120 Maple St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st St. – All vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Millard North Middle School, located at 2828 S. 139th St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • Noon-5 p.m. at Christmas in the Village at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, located at 2602 N. 24th St. – All vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Andersen Middle School, located at 15404 Adams St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • Noon-4 p.m. at Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st St. – All vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Millard Central Middle School, located at 12801 L. St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 5544 Ames Ave. – Pfizer & Moderna vaccines available
  • 5-7 p.m. at Gateway Elementary School, located at 5610 S. 42nd St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 4-7 p.m. at Beadle Middle School, located at 18201 Jefferson St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 5-7 p.m. at Skinner Magnet Center, located at 4304 N. 33rd St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st St. – All vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Kiewit Middle
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Westside Middle School, located at 8601 Arbor St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Omaha Children’s Museum, located at 500 S. 20th St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 3-5 p.m. at Antioch Baptist Church, located at 2535 S. 42nd St. – Pfizer for ages 5+

Today's #Covid19 Update is right here: Douglas County Nebraska Nebraska...

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Monday, November 29, 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.

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 vaccination clinics

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

  • 4-6 p.m. at Weeping Water Public Schools, located 204 W. O St.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Gretna Middle School, 11705 S. 216th St.
  • 3-5 p.m. at Springfield Community Center, 104 Main St.
  • 4-6 p.m. at Bellevue Lied Activity Center, 2700 Arboretum Drive
  • 4-6 p.m. at Papillion-La Vista South High School, 10799 NE-370
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Conestoga High School, 8404 42nd St., Murray, Neb.
  • 1-3 p.m. at Louisville Public Schools, 202 W. Third St.

Appointments are recommended but not required. For scheduling assistance, call 833-998-2275 or 531-249-1873.

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

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