Wednesday Dec. 22 COVID-19 update: Douglas County reports 7 deaths, two more omicron cases

WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30
Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 11:38 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 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: About 2,000 more COVID-19 tests were conducted in the week ending Tuesday, compared to the week prior, with fewer tests coming up positive. In the past week, 62,888 tests were conducted, compared to 60,852 the previous week. Nebraska DHHS was reporting a 11.7% positivity rate as of Sunday, compared to 12% on Dec. 12 and 13.8% on Dec. 3.

DHHS reported an additional 5,461 positive cases of COVID-19 since last week, bringing the total number of verified cases for the state to 330,181. The state health department reported 256 additional variant cases as of Sunday, including seven cases of the omicron variant — the rest were delta variant cases.

DEATHS: DHHS reported 23 COVID-19 deaths since the week prior, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 2,763. Last week, 33 COVID-19 deaths were reported across the state; about a month ago, there were 34 were reported in a week.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: The state’s health department reported 119 fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Tuesday. According to the Nebraska Hospital Capacity & Respiratory Illness dashboard, those numbers have been steadily declining since Dec. 13 after seeing upward trends since the end of October.

According to the DHHS dashboard, as of Tuesday, there were 341 adult COVID-19 patients, down from 434 reported last week and 398 reported two weeks ago. There were also 13 more adult patients in ICUs: 153 patients, down from 184 reported last week and 171 the week before that. The state also reported 11 pediatric COVID-19 patients, up five from the previous week. No pediatric COVID-19 ICU patient data was available Tuesday.

Overall hospital occupancy, which is based on staffing levels, improved for adult patients and but worsened for pediatric patients across the state this week: Last week, 78% of 3,249 adult beds were occupied, while 70% of 239 pediatric beds were full. As of Tuesday, 76% of 3,250 adult beds were occupied, while 74% of 241 pediatric beds were full.

Fewer adult and pediatric ICU beds were available this week, however. As of Tuesday, 88% (of 491) adult beds were filled, compared with 86% (of 496) adult beds occupied last week; and 76% (of 191) pediatric ICU beds were full, compared with 70% (of 191) pediatric beds filled last week.

VACCINATIONS: Currently, 64.3% of the 1.77 million Nebraskans ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated. In the past week, 14,616 COVID-19 vaccinations — the fewest in recent weeks by half or more — were administered, according to the DHHS data.

VACCINATION BREAKTHROUGHS: As DHHS updates its breakthrough data roughly every 4-5 weeks, no new data was reported this week.

INFLUENZA & RSV: Across the state, Flu cases are rising as RSV cases continue to be on the decline.

DHHS reported 3% positivity for RSV tests as of Saturday, down from 3.6% a week ago but still higher than the 0.3% reported about this same time a year ago. RSV positivity for 2021 peaked at 21.6% on Aug. 21, not quite as high as the 24.1% reported in January 2020. DHHS has also reported 106 RSV tests were conducted Saturday as compared to fewer than five about this time last year.

The state reported 6.1% positivity for flu as of Sunday, up from 4.2% two weeks ago, and 0.1% about a year ago. The highest peak in the past two years was on Feb. 13, 2020, when DHHS reported a 34.9% flu positivity rate. The state has also reported well more than double the number flu tests conducted Saturday (6,321) as compared to the same date last year, when 2,613 flu tests were conducted.

Pottawattamie County data snapshot

Iowa Department of Public Health updated its county-by-county data on Wednesday, showing a decline in hospital beds available in Pottawattamie County and the surrounding region.

IDPH reported 14 COVID-19 deaths in Pottawattamie County in the past week, bringing the death toll to 244. The state’s COVID-19 death toll increased by 130 to 7,799.

As of data collected through Tuesday, Pottawattamie County had a 16.9% positivity rate for the week among 243 positive tests confirmed in the last seven days. That’s up from 16% last week but down from 17.3% two weeks ago. The ratio equates to 20,485 positive tests per 100,000 people, according to IDPH data. By comparison, the state’s seven-day positivity rate remained at 10.8%, which is down from 12.3% reported two weeks ago.

The county was showing a slight increase in its vaccination rate — 57% — among those ages 12 and older, according to IDPH data, compared to 64.1% vaccination rate for the same age group in all of Iowa. That amounts to 49% of the county’s total population, compared to the 55.5% vaccination rate for the state.

There were four more COVID-19 patients in county hospitals this week compared to last week. Of those 34 patients, six were fully vaccinated: four ages 60-69 and two ages 70-79. Of those patients, 15 COVID-19 were in county ICUs. Tuesday’s data showed that patients ages 50 and older accounted for most of the county’s COVID-19 hospitalizations: of those 26 patients, nine were in their 50s, none of them vaccinated; 10 were in their 60s, four of whom were vaccinated; and seven were in their 70s, two of whom were vaccinated.

IDPH was also reporting high hospital capacity, and about half as many hospital beds available compared to the previous week. As of Tuesday, there were 5.3% of hospital beds available, down from 10.2% last week. In total, there were 11 in-patient beds available — nine fewer than last week; and two ICU beds available.

Region 4, which includes Pottawattamie and nine surrounding counties, has 27.1% of beds available: 109 hospital beds and six ICU beds.

Husker volleyball team outbreak

(WOWT) - Days after leading his team to the National Championship game, Nebraska Volleyball Head Coach John Cook has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Being around 18,000 people up there in Columbus. I hear Wisconsin is starting to have an outbreak as well,” Cook said.

Some of the team will remain in Lincoln to quarantine, delaying their Christmas break.

DCHD offers home test kits

The Douglas County Health Department said Wednesday that it has a limited number of home test kits for county residents who have COVID-19 symptoms or a known exposure but have barriers to regular testing.

Those who lack transportation or the ability to access an established testing site, someone who might be homebound or is too sick to leave their home to get themselves or a family member tested, can obtain a test by calling the information line at 402-444-3400. Requests can also be made through Health Navigators or community health workers.

These tests are not available for those wishing to have them on hand for future use; such quantities will be available one the federal home-testing program is launched, the health department said.

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department on Wednesday reported seven COVID-19 deaths, bringing the local death toll to 897. Five were men, two were women; and two were vaccinated. One of the unvaccinated men was in his 50s, one was in his 60s, and two were in their 70s; the fifth man who died was vaccinated and older than age 75. One of the women was vaccinated and in her 50s; the other woman was unvaccinated and in her 60s.

Reporting two more cases of the omicron variant had been confirmed in Douglas County, the health department also reported 464 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the local total to 99,824 cases since the start of the pandemic. A year ago, DCHD reported 274 cases and a seven-day average of 376 cases. The number of local COVID-19 deaths at that time was 440.

The latest cases bring the seven-day average to 272 cases, up from 255 on Tuesday. A week ago, the average was 283; a month ago, it was 209 cases. The Douglas County Health Department COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday indicated the local seven-day average was 332 cases per 100,000 population.

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. DCHD said that as of Tuesday afternoon, local hospitals collectively were 86% full with 22 fewer beds available than the day prior, for a total of 219 beds available Tuesday, compared to 108 beds reported Friday. ICUs on Tuesday were at 92% occupancy, with 23 beds available, compared to 22 on Monday, 25 on Sunday, and 12 beds available at the end of last week. Meanwhile, pediatric ICUs were 85% full with 19 beds available, up from 15 available on Monday and 12 reported Friday.

A year ago, hospitals were at 76% capacity with 376 beds available; and ICUs were 67% occupied with 111 beds available.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Douglas County hospitals were caring for 273 COVID-19 patients, down from 294 a day prior; nine patients were pediatric patients. There were 91 COVID-19 patients in local ICUs, 41 of them on ventilators.

Additionally, there were three adult patients awaiting COVID-19 test results.

DCHD’s COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday was showing 62.9% of local residents were fully vaccinated. The health department has been efforting vaccination of children ages 5-11; as of Wednesday, 19.4% of local youth in this age group were fully vaccinated.

FLU UPDATE: DCHD reported Wednesday that the number of confirmed cases of seasonal influenza had doubled in Douglas County in the past week. The health department said 143 new cases were reported over the course of the past week.

DCHD reminded residents that flu shots are still available throughout the county.

Lincoln-Lancaster County update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on Wednesday reported a COVID-19 death: a man in his 80s who was vaccinated has died, bringing the area’s death toll to 347.

LLCHD also confirmed 188 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases there to 48,338.

The health department also reported Wednesday that area hospitals were caring for 111 COVID-19 patients, 22 of them on ventilators.

As of Wednesday, 63.9% of the local population was fully vaccinated.

The county’s DHM, which includes a mask mandate, is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Lincoln schools adjust mask policy

(KOLN) - On the heels of the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department announcing it will let the indoor mask mandate expire on Thursday, Lincoln Public Schools has made changes to its mask requirements.

Beginning Friday, Dec. 24 face coverings will be strongly recommended instead of required inside middle and high school buildings. Face coverings will still be required inside elementary school buildings.

However, masks will be required for everyone in a middle or high school building for two weeks if 10% or more of its population is absent due to illness. This requirement will be communicated to families through email, phone calls, and the LPS website.

Face coverings are required on buses regardless of grade level.

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 as indicated below. 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+
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Bryan Middle School, located at 8210 S. 42nd St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Benson High Magnet School, located at 5120 Maple St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st. St. – All vaccines available.
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Burke High School, located at 12200 Burke St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Omaha North High Magnet School, located at 4410 N. 36th St. – All vaccines available.
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Omaha South High Magnet School, located at 4519 S. 24th St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 4-7 p.m. at Bennington High School, located at 16610 Bennington Road – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Morton Magnet Middle School, located at 12200 Burke St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • Noon-4 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st. St. – All vaccines available.
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Alfonza W. David Middle School, located at 8050 N. 129th St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Norris Middle School, located at 2235 S. 46th St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st. St. – All vaccines available.

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

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Tuesday, December 21, 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 dose.

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

Posted by Sarpy/Cass Health Department on Sunday, December 19, 2021

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.

3RPHD is planning the following vaccination clinics next week at the Three Rivers Clinic, located at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave. in Fremont:

  • 8 a.m-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22
  • 8 a.m-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28

The health department is also planning a clinic from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 2 at United Methodist Church in Blair.

Three regular 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.

In the upcoming weeks, due to the holidays and increased demand for vaccines, we will have modified days and hours for...

Posted by Three Rivers Public Health Department, Nebraska on Monday, December 13, 2021

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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