Tuesday Dec. 7 COVID-19 update: Douglas County cases jump 54% week over week, impacting schools

DCHD: All of Nebraska’s unvaccinated omicron cases had COVID-19 a year ago
WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 8:59 AM 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 Medicine again limiting surgeries

Nebraska Medicine announced to staff Tuesday that starting Monday, the hospital system would again limit the type of surgeries it performs as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise.

Class D surgeries, which are those procedures that can wait four to 12 weeks under normal circumstances, will be rescheduled at a later date, according to the email. Class E surgeries, which typically can wait 12 weeks or more, will be reassessed at 12 weeks.

Some Class C surgeries may also be reprioritized, but outpatient procedures are expected to continue as normal.

The email also notes that COVID-19 patient care needs have shifted.

“Another challenge is the average length of stay is up 10% compared to last year, while the acuity of our COVID-19 patients has increased, with a higher percentage requiring ICU level care and ventilators,” the email states.

The virus is also taking a toll on staffing as those administering care to patients become infected themselves.

“Emergency room visits are also up nearly 30% compared to last year and more colleagues are off of work due to exposure or infection of COVID-19,” the email states.

The hospital urged staff to encourage vaccination.

“Please encourage the people in your life who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated,” the email states.

Children’s Hospital launches vaccination campaign

Health officials and providers from across the state joined Children’s Hospital and Medical Center on Tuesday morning to kick off a campaign aimed at getting more children and teens vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ahead of launching “Max the Vax” — funded by a grant from the Nebraska Department of Education — several of them signed a statement of support, calling the vaccination of 82,320 children and teens across the state against COVID-19 “a good start, but we are not done.”

“Now is the time to maximize our vaccination rates to protect our community and lower the risk of someone we love becoming severely ill with COVID-19,” Dr. Sharon Stoolman said in a news release about Tuesday’s event. “As someone who has cared for dozens of children hospitalized with COVID-19, some who are incredibly sick, I can tell you the rest in real. Many have tried to minimize COVID-19′s impact on kids, but the impact is real. Whether your child is home from school, quarantined, or if they are hospitalized and on life support, it’s a risk no parent wants to take for their child.”

More than 6.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And while the risk to most children and teens remains low, the risk of passing along the virus to those who might suffer much more severe symptoms is just another reason to vaccinate youth against the virus, the release states.

Douglas County Health Department update

A spokeswoman for the Douglas County Health Department told the county’s commissioners on Tuesday morning that COVID-19 cases are spiking locally.

CASES: With 477 cases confirmed Tuesday, it’s the most reported in a single day since last December, the spokeswoman said.

Last week, the health department saw cases increase by 54% — 2,290 cases — compared to the 1,482 cases reported the week prior, the spokeswoman said. She noted that the age groups reporting the highest proportion of cases has flipped, with ages 20-34 accounting for 26.3% of new cases and youth from infants to age 19 accounting for 25%.

The increase in case numbers is affecting local schools, she said, reporting that 465 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in local schools in the past two weeks.

She noted that schools with mask rules in place since the beginning of the school year have seen a total of 29 clusters and 18 classroom closures. Conversely, schools that made masking optional have seen 54 clusters and 44 classroom closures.

OMICRON UPDATE: The DCHD spokeswoman noted Tuesday that the unvaccinated five of the six Nebraska cases confirmed to be the new omicron variant also had COVID-19 a year ago.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: As many in the local medical community have been indicating in recent days, the hospitals are full, the DCHD spokeswoman said, with hospital capacity steadily hitting levels not seen since December 2020.

VACCINATIONS: The county has seen a strong response to getting youth vaccinated. To date, 72.6% of those ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated while 24.5% of those ages 5-11 have at least started the vaccination process.

Meanwhile, the health department has been getting lots of questions about COVID-19 boosters. To date, 99,672 boosters have been administered, and DCHD expects to surpass 100,000 boosters by the end of Tuesday. That translates to 62% of residents ages 65 and older having received a COVID-19 booster, with 31.7% of those ages 18 and older considered “boosted.”

But the bottom line from DCHD is if you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated; if you’re not boosted, get boosted when you’re eligible; and continue wearing a mask when around others.

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department reported an additional COVID-19 death on Tuesday: an unvaccinated woman older than age 75 has died, bringing the local death toll to 869. The number of deaths reported a year ago was 367.

DCHD also reported 477 confirmed cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases confirmed during the pandemic to 95,710. A year ago, the health department reported 383 COVID-19 cases. The latest case numbers pushed the current seven-day average to 326, down from 334 reported a day earlier. A week ago, it was 239; about a month ago, it was 171; it hasn’t been below 100 cases since Aug. 3.

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. DCHD reports that as of Monday afternoon, local hospitals were 85% full with 215 staffed beds available, up from 184 on Sunday and 116 reported on Friday. A year ago, DCHD reported hospitals were at 78% capacity with 330 beds available.

DCHD also noted that local pediatric beds were at 94% capacity, with eight beds available.

ICU beds on Monday were 95% full with 30 staffed beds available, up from nine reported a day prior.

Local hospitals are caring for 293 COVID-19 patients — one more than reported Monday, which was a record for the year — including three pediatric patients. There are 109 COVID-19 patients in area ICUs, which is also again a record for the year. Of those patients, 50 are on ventilators.

Additionally, there are 15 patients awaiting COVID-19 tests, one of them a pediatric patient.

According to the Douglas County COVID-19 dashboard, more kids are getting vaccinated. Currently, 24.5% of county children ages 5-11 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, with 9.7% now considered fully vaccinated. Currently, 61.1% of the county’s total population has been fully vaccinated.

Lincoln-Lancaster County update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County health department elevated its risk dial Tuesday from mid-orange to elevated orange.

Health Director Pat Lopez said the county is reporting high positive case numbers daily, hitting a record for the year on Friday. At that time, the area’s positivity rate was reported to be 14.7% — the highest since the start of the pandemic.

“Much of what’s driving the current increases is the aftermath of Thanksgiving gatherings,” Lopez said. “We could see a repeat later this December as more holiday gatherings are planned. We must be mindful of our actions and remember to celebrate safely. In addition to getting vaccinated and wearing masks, it’s important to get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, to stay home if you’re sick, to watch your distance from others, and to wash your hands.”

Lopez said the seven-day rolling average for daily cases rose sharply to 170 on Saturday from 127 the week prior. Prior to that, It had been in the 90s for most of November she said.

“Almost 75% of the new cases from November 28 through December 4 were under the age of 50 years,” she said.

The county lost 16 residents to COVID-19 in November; six deaths have been reported in the first week of December, four of them on Tuesday, Lopez said.

About 63% of all Lancaster County residents are vaccinated, and about 26% of children ages 5-11 have received their first dose. Lopez also siad that about 37% of those ages 18 and older have received their COVID-19 booster.

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

Posted by Sarpy/Cass Health Department on Monday, December 6, 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.

  • 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+

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 are 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 obtain COVID-19 vaccinations or boosters at the Omaha VA Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics’ walk-in hours from 8 a.m.-2:45 p.m. weekdays. Appointments can also be scheduled online.

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 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

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

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