Wednesday Dec. 8 COVID-19 update: Douglas County positivity rate jumps 4% in past month

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 4:48 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 pharmacists urge patience

The Nebraska Pharmacists Association on Wednesday issued a statement asking for patients across the state to have patience with their pharmacies as fatigue and staffing shortages affect them as well amid a surge of vaccination requests.

“Pharmacy staff, like other front-line health care workers, are experiencing fatigue and heavy workloads,” NPA CEO Marcia Mueting said in the release.

As more patients are lining up for COVID-19 and annual influenza vaccinations at the same time, the NPA is concerned that such overload could lead to pharmacy errors and asked Nebraskans to allow extra time whether picking up a prescription refill or getting any sort of vaccination.

“The system of checks and balances to provide prescription accuracy cannot be rushed,” the release states, asking pharmacy customers to exercise patience with their pharmacists as they continue the checks and balances that assure the right medication is administered.

Douglas County omicron update

The Douglas County Health Department on Wednesday emphasized that much is still not known about the omicron COVID-19 variant, noting that the delta variant is still having a major impact on the Omaha-metro.

While 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, the health department said they are still learning about omicron.

“We don’t know if it spreads more easily. We aren’t sure if it will produce a more severe infection,” the release states. “While we are optimistic, we don’t yet know how well the vaccines will protect you against omicron.”

Still, the health department advised getting vaccinated to protect against the virus.

Nebraska data snapshot

According to Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services data updated Wednesday, the state was reporting the following numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and vaccinations as of Tuesday:

CASES: A week-over-week jump in testing as of Tuesday showed nearly twice as many COVID-19 tests were run in the week ending Dec. 7 (79,716) compared to the week ending Dec. 1 (40,965), which had already caused a spike in the state’s positivity rate. Nebraska DHHS was reporting a 13.9% positivity rate as of Dec. 5, compared to 12.1% on Nov. 28; about a month ago, it was 10.9%. The 1.5% increase is the biggest week-over-week increase since August.

DHHS reported an additional 8,829 positive cases of COVID-19 since last week, bringing the total number of verified cases for the state to 318,657. The state health department had not issued an update on variants this week as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.

DEATHS: DHHS reported 64 COVID-19 deaths since the week prior — the highest number of deaths reported in a week since the end of September — bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 2,707. Last week, 16 COVID-19 deaths were reported across the state; about a month ago, there were 48.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: The state’s health department reported 23 more COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Tuesday. At 574, it’s the highest number of COVID-19 patients reported since Dec. 21, 2020. According to the Nebraska Hospital Capacity & Respiratory Illness dashboard, those numbers have been steadily increasing since the end of October.

According to the DHHS dashboard, as of Tuesday, there were 398 adult COVID-19 patients, up from 339 reported last week and 250 reported the week prior. There were also 16 fewer adult patients in ICUs: 171 patients, up from 155 reported last week and 163 the week prior. The state also reported five pediatric COVID-19 patients, down one from the previous week. No pediatric COVID-19 ICU patient data was available Tuesday.

Overall hospital occupancy, which is based on staffing levels, decreased for all adult patients but significantly improved for pediatric patients across the state this week: Last week, 77% of 3,244 adult beds were occupied, while 81% of 239 pediatric beds were full. As of Tuesday, 79% of 3,243 adult beds were occupied, while 73% of 238 pediatric beds were full.

Additionally, more adult and pediatric ICU beds were available this week. As of Tuesday, 87% (of 487) adult beds were filled, compared with 90% (of 489) adult beds occupied last week; and 79% (of 189) pediatric ICU beds were full, compared with 80% (of 189) pediatric beds filled last week.

VACCINATIONS: Currently, 63.1% of the 1.77 million Nebraskans ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated. In the past week, 39,756 COVID-19 vaccinations — the most in a week since the end of September — were administered in the past week, according to the DHHS data.

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

OTHER RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES: RSV cases have been falling in recent weeks after peaking at 500 positive cases among 2,642 tests, or 21.6% positivity, on Aug. 21. While Saturday’s data showed an increase in cases compared to the week prior — 118 positive cases were confirmed among 3,075, compared to 102 positive cases from 2,227 tests the week prior — the results showed an overall decline in positivity, from 4.6% to 3.8%. That compares with one positive case among 422 tests, or 0.2%, reported Dec. 4, 2020.

Flu cases have increased but still remain at very low levels. As of Saturday, 85 positive cases among 5,439 tests compared to 44 positive cases amid 4,138 tests the week prior. The results show positivity increasing week over week, from 1.1% to 1.6% as of Saturday. In the same week in 2020, there were 14 positive cases among 2,357, or 0.6% positivity. Conversely, on Jan. 9, 2020 — amid the previous flu season — DHHS data shows 1,199 positive cases among 3,912 tests, or 30.6% positivity.

Pottawattamie County data snapshot

Iowa Department of Public Health updated its county-by-county data on Wednesday, showing an increase in hospital beds available in Pottawattamie County.

As of data collected through Tuesday, Pottawattamie County had a 17.3% positivity rate for the week, down from 18.5% last week but still up from 16% two weeks ago; with 399 positive tests confirmed in the last seven days. By comparison, the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 12.3%, up from 11.9% last week and 10.8% the week prior.

IDPH reported no additional deaths for Pottawattamie County in the past week, so the death toll stands at 214. The state’s COVID-19 death toll increased by 105 to 7,550.

The county was showing a slight increase in its vaccination rate — 56.5% — among those ages 12 and older, according to IDPH data, compared to the 63.6% vaccination rate for all of Iowa. That amounts to 48.1% of the county’s total population, compared to the 54.4% vaccination rate for the state.

There were eight fewer COVID-19 patients in county hospitals this week compared to last week. Of those 34 patients, 11 were fully vaccinated: one age 50-59, five ages 60-69, two ages 70-79, and three who are at least 80 years old. There were 13 COVID-19 patients in county ICUs. Tuesday’s data showed that patients ages 50-59 were still among the largest group of COVID-19 hospitalizations: nine patients, one of whom was vaccinated. There were also nine patients ages 70-79, two of whom were vaccinated. Among the eight patients in their 60s, five were vaccinated.

IDPH was also reporting high hospital capacity but many more hospital beds available compared to the previous week. As of Tuesday, there were 11% of hospital beds available, up from 0.99% last week but nearly the same level as the 11.34% reported the week prior. In total, there were 21 in-patient beds available, up from two available last week; and three ICU beds available, up from zero availability reported last week in the county. Region 4, which includes Pottawattamie and nine surrounding counties, has 33.9% of beds available: 130 hospital beds and nine ICU beds.

Douglas County update

DCHD confirmed 330 cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases confirmed during the pandemic to 96,041. A year ago, the health department reported 402 COVID-19 cases.

The latest case numbers pushed the current seven-day average to 317 cases from 326 reported a day earlier. A week ago, it was 251; a month ago, it was 171; it hasn’t been below 100 cases since Aug. 3.

According to the Douglas County COVID-19 dashboard, the local test positivity rate was 13.5% as of Saturday, up from 9.2% about a month ago. About a year ago, it was 14.1%.

The local death toll stands at 869.

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. DCHD reports that as of Tuesday afternoon, local hospitals were 89% full with 162 staffed beds available, down from 215 on Monday and 184 on Sunday. A year ago, DCHD reported hospitals were at 82% capacity with 279 beds available.

DCHD also noted that local pediatric beds were at 92% capacity with 11 beds available Tuesday, up from eight the day prior.

ICU beds on Tuesday were 89% full with 33 staffed beds available, up from 30 on Monday and nine a day prior.

The number of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals continues to break records for the year. On Tuesday, local hospitals were caring for the 296 COVID-19 patients — three more than reported Tuesday — including three pediatric patients. There are fewer COVID-19 patients in area ICUs, however: 102 down from 109, which was also a record for the year. Of the current ICU patients, 51 are on ventilators.

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

The health department noted in its Wednesday update that vaccinations are again “picking up steam.”

“During November, DCHD administered nearly 7,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That is the most in any month since spring,” the release states.

According to the Douglas County COVID-19 dashboard, more kids are getting vaccinated. Currently, 25.1% of county children ages 5-11 have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, with 10.9% now considered fully vaccinated. Currently, 61.3% of the county’s total population has been fully vaccinated.

Bryan Health update

Bryan Health in Lincoln reported Wednesday that it was caring for 58 COVID-19 patients, down one from the day prior. Ten of those patients are on ventilators, which is one more than Bryan reported on Tuesday.

There are also 13 patients awaiting COVID-19 test results.

Additionally, Bryan is caring for five pediatric patients, three less than a day earlier, but still none who are positive for COVID-19.

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.-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: Douglas County Nebraska Nebraska...

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Wednesday, December 8, 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 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:

  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Conestoga High School, 8404 42nd St., Murray, Neb.
  • 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Sarpy/Cass Health Department, located at 701 Olson Drive in Papillion
  • 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 Tuesday, December 7, 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 | Bryan Health | 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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