Wednesday Dec. 29 COVID-19 update: 3 deaths, 700+ cases reported in Douglas County

WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:15 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 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 an 11.5% positivity rate as of Sunday, compared to 11.8% on Dec. 19 and 12% on Dec. 12.

DHHS reported an additional 6,245 positive cases of COVID-19 among 58,792 tests since last week, bringing the total number of verified cases for the state to 336,426. The state health department did not provide an update on additional variant cases this week.

DEATHS: DHHS reported 18 COVID-19 deaths since the week prior, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 2,781. Last week, 23 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 four fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Tuesday compared to last week, bringing this week’s total to 501 COVID-19 patients.

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. As of Tuesday, there were 342 adult COVID-19 patients, up slightly from 341 reported last week but lower than 434 reported two weeks ago. There were four fewer adult patients in ICUs: 149 patients, down from 153 reported last week and 184 the week before that. The state also reported 10 pediatric COVID-19 patients, down one from last week. No pediatric COVID-19 ICU patient data was available Tuesday.

Overall hospital occupancy, which is based on staffing levels, stayed relatively the same for adult and pediatric patients across the state this week: Last week, 76% of 3,250 adult beds were occupied, while 74% of 241 pediatric beds were full. As of Tuesday, 76% of 3,247 adult beds were occupied, while 72% of 243 pediatric beds were full.

More adult and pediatric ICU beds were available this week. As of Tuesday, 82% (of 490) adult beds were filled, compared with 88% (of 491) adult beds occupied last week; and 80% (of 191) pediatric ICU beds were full, compared with 76% (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 2.8% positivity for RSV tests as of Saturday, down from 3% 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 previous peak of 24.1% reported in January 2020. DHHS has also reported 3,607 RSV tests were conducted Saturday as compared to 679 about this time last year.

The state reported 8.1% positivity for flu as of Saturday, up from 6.1% a week 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 more than double the number of flu tests conducted in the past week Saturday (6,872) as compared to the same date last year, when 3,050 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.

DEATHS: IDPH reported five COVID-19 deaths in Pottawattamie County in the past week, bringing the death toll to 249. The state’s COVID-19 death toll increased by 59 to 7,858.

CASES: As of data collected through Tuesday, Pottawattamie County had a 14% positivity rate for the week among 253 positive tests confirmed in the last seven days. That’s down from 16.9% last week and 16% two weeks ago. The ratio equates to 20,875 positive tests per 100,000 people, according to IDPH data. By comparison, the state’s seven-day positivity rate increased from 10.8% to 11.6%.

VACCINATIONS: The county was showing a slight increase in its vaccination rate — 57.2% — among those ages 12 and older, according to IDPH data, compared to 64.3% vaccination rate for the same age group in all of Iowa. That amounts to 49.3% of the county’s total population, compared to the 55.8% vaccination rate for the state.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: There were five more COVID-19 patients in county hospitals this week compared to last week. Of those 39 patients, 13 were fully vaccinated: one age 40-49; seven ages 60-69; and four ages 70-79. Of those patients, 17 COVID-19 were in county ICUs. Tuesday’s data showed that patients ages 60 and older accounted for most of the county’s COVID-19 hospitalizations: of those 26 patients, 15 were in their 60s, seven of them vaccinated; 12 were in their 70s, four of whom were vaccinated.

IDPH was also reporting high hospital capacity, and again about half as many hospital beds available compared to the previous week. As of Tuesday, there were 3.7% of hospital beds available, down from 5.3% last week and 10.2% reported two weeks ago. In total, there were 6 in-patient beds available — five fewer than last week; and one ICU bed available.

Region 4, which includes Pottawattamie and nine surrounding counties, has 34.1% of beds available, up from 27.1% reported a week ago; that amounts to 121 hospital beds and seven ICU beds, up from 109 hospital beds and six ICU beds available a week earlier.

Douglas County update

The Douglas County Health Department reported three COVID-19 deaths: a man in his 20s who was vaccinated has died, as well as two unvaccinated men, one in his 40s and one in his 70s. The three men bring the local COVID-19 death toll to 906.

The health department also confirmed 735 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of local infected residents to 102,063.

The local positivity rate rose from 10.4% to 12% as of Saturday. The Douglas County Health Department data dashboard was showing a noticeable week-to-week increase among 20-29-year-olds and 30-39-year-olds. There were 111 more cases reported among those in their 20s as of Saturday, and 63 more among those in their 30s.

Local hospital capacity stats are updated daily according to staffing levels. As of Tuesday afternoon, DCHD said local hospitals were 86% full, with 164 staffed beds available; adult ICU beds were 88% occupied, with 35 staffed beds available; and pediatric ICU beds were at 90% capacity with 13 beds available.

Among those hospitalized were 296 COVID-19 patients — the third day in a row that 20 patients were added in 24 hours — including eight pediatric patients. There were 89 adult COVID-19 patients in local ICUs, 41 of them on ventilators.

Additionally, four adults were awaiting COVID-19 test results.

As of Wednesday, the DCHD dashboard was reporting that 63.2% of residents were fully vaccinated.

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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 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.

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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.

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-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.

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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