Friday Dec. 3 COVID-19 update: Nebraska Medicine, CHI Health share hospital capacity concerns

Omicron variant cases confirmed in southeast Nebraska
Healthcare officials in the county are reporting full hospital beds and continue to encourage those who are not to get vaccinated.
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 10:49 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 12:58 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.

Public schools dashboard updates

Omaha Public Schools reported Friday that it had 191active COVID-19 cases, up from 153 reported two weeks ago. Of those, 149 were among students, up from 113 student cases reported two weeks ago. The district reported 42 active cases among staff, up from 40 cases two weeks ago.

Elkhorn Public Schools reported Friday that it had 70 active COVID-19 cases, up from 60 reported two weeks ago. Hillrise Elementary was reporting the most cases of any school in the district: 11. Elkhorn South High School was reporting seven cases, and Sagewood had six cases reported.

Millard Public Schools on Friday reported 200 cases in the district, up from 169 cases reported two weeks ago. One high school and one elementary have nearly 20 cases each, with several more schools in the district were reporting 10 more cases:

  • Millard West High School has 19 cases.
  • Upchurch Elementary also has 19 cases.
  • Millard South High School has 17 cases.
  • Millard North High School has 11 cases.
  • Montclair Elementary School also has 11 cases.
  • Central Middle School has 10 cases.
  • Reagan Elementary School also has 10 cases.

Papillion La Vista Community Schools had 22 active cases as of Monday: 17 among students, and five staff cases. That’s down from the total of 40 cases reported two weeks ago, with 32 cases among students and six cases reported among faculty. The highest total reported by the district this year was 94 cases — 82 among students and 12 among staff — on Week 3 of the school year.

Gretna Public Schools on Friday reported it had 48 active cases, up from 47 reported two weeks ago. The district was also reporting 291 recovered cases, up from 240 reported as recovered two weeks ago.

Council Bluffs Public Schools on Friday reported 61 active COVID-19 cases: 65 among students and 16 among staff. Two weeks ago, the district had 63 cases: 46 among students and 14 cases among staff.

Bellevue Public Schools on Friday reported it had nine active cases during the week ending Nov. 25, way down from 82 reported for the previous week. Nine of the cases were among students, with one staff case reported.

Omicron in Nebraska

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Nebraska Public Health Solutions District, and the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory reported Friday that six cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant have been detected in the state.

According to a release from the health district serving southeast Nebraska, one of the six people was vaccinated, and none of them have required hospitalization.

The first case likely came from an unvaccinated international traveler to Nigeria who returned Nov. 23 and became symptomatic the following day, NPHSD said. The other five people were likely exposed “through household contact” with the originating cause.

The health district said the patient sought testing and alerted the NPHSD once they confirmed having COVID-19 to initiate sequencing, given their travel history.

Dr. Josue Gutierrez stressed in a news conference Friday afternoon that there was no indication yet that the variant was severe and that more data was needed to determine that.

NPHSD, based in Crete, serves Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, and Thayer counties.

Nebraska Medicine, CHI Health concerned about hospital capacity

Doctors on Friday were warning of a worsening situation in Omaha-metro hospitals as hospitalizations and infections continue to climb.

Dr. Carey Ward, CHI Health’s chief medical officer, said some people are waiting up three days for an ICU bed.

Hospital officials say the large number of people refusing a COVID-19 vaccine are crippling the quality of bedside care.

“Some of the reasons people chose to be in the camp of no vaccine... some of those reasons change...not getting a vaccine,” Dr. Ward said.

Dr. Mark Rupp said Nebraska Medicine is not in a good position: They’re at capacity, with patients having to wait in holding areas. NebMed is also being very selective on what transfer patients they’re accepting.

WOWT 6 News Live at 10

Dr. Rupp said he wasn’t surprised by the news that the omicron COVID-19 variant had been found in the state.

“The world is interconnected,” he said in a conversation with journalists Friday afternoon about hospital capacity, the omicron COVID-19 variant, and how the delta variant is still impacting the state’s hospitals.

If there’s a silver lining, he said, it’s that medical experts have the capability to sequence and find variants.

While delta is wreaking havoc — all of the cases in the Omaha-metro area are delta variants — Dr. Rupp said any variant is more likely to attack unvaccinated people.

“You need to get the vaccine,” he said, noting that the tragedy has been that so many of the severe cases right now are preventable and that it shouldn’t take the latest variant to do the right thing.

Dr. Rupp said that the omicron variant is very much worth watching, that it’s looking like it’s more transmissible.

Watch Dr. Ward’s full update

Dr. Carey Ward, CHI Health's chief medical officer, talks about hospital capacity on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department reported four COVID-19 deaths Friday: two unvaccinated men older than age 70, and two unvaccinated women, one in her 50s and one older than age 80, have died, bringing the local death toll to 863.

Additionally, DCHD reported that 378 additional COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in the past day, bringing the local case total to 94,594.

A year ago, DCHD reported four COVID-19 deaths and 556 new positive cases.

The rolling seven-day average is 290 cases, up from 270 reported Thursday, 251 reported Wednesday, and 239 reported Tuesday. A month ago it was 156, but it hasn’t been below 100 cases since Aug. 3.

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. As of Thursday afternoon, local hospitals were 92% full with 116 staffed beds available, up from 113 on Wednesday, but down from 129 on Tuesday, 231 on Monday, and 310 on Sunday. ICU beds on Thursday were also 97% full, with 10 staffed beds available, down from 19 on Wednesday, 28 on Tuesday, and 45 on Sunday.

Douglas County hospitals were caring for 282 patients with COVID-19 as of Thursday afternoon, compared to 275 on Wednesday, remaining still at levels not reported since January. The number of ICU patients remained at 84; two weeks ago, there were 56 COVID-19 patients in local ICUs. Of those hospitalized with the virus, four were pediatric COVID-19 patients, down from 10 reported a day prior.

Of the current patients, 56 are on ventilators, up from 51 on Wednesday, 53 on Tuesday, and the record number of 57 on Monday.

Additionally, seven adult patients are awaiting COVID-19 test results, DCHD said.

To date, 72% of residents ages 12 and older are vaccinated; that translates to 59.9% of the community. As of Thursday, 22.2% of local children ages 5-11 have had their first pediatric COVID-19 vaccination, with 3.4% of local kids considered fully vaccinated.

Lincoln-Lancaster update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department confirmed another 264 COVID-19 cases Friday — the highest number of daily cases reported this year, LLCHD said — bringing the local case total to 45,536.

The county’s death toll stands at 331.

LLCHD also reported area hospitals were caring for 110 COVID-19 patients, six more than reported the previous day; 15 of them are on ventilators.

Currently, 62.3% of Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated.

On paper, the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 looks concerning. How it plays out in the real world has yet to be seen,...

Posted by Three Rivers Public Health Department, Nebraska on Thursday, December 2, 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.

  • 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, located 15650 Howard St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 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: Nebraska Department of Health...

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Thursday, December 2, 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:

  • 4-7 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.

Vaccines available at this clinic:​ ● First and second doses (Pfizer 5+, Moderna 18+, Johnson & Johnson 18+) ● Boosters...

Posted by Sarpy/Cass Health Department on Thursday, December 2, 2021

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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