Monday Jan. 3 COVID-19 update: Douglas County positivity rate jumps to 21%

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 12:56 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.

Omaha area school dashboards snapshot

As area schools resume — or prepare to resume — classes, some have updated their COVID-19 dashboards during the holiday break. Here’s where local districts COVID-19 totals stand since our last schools report on Dec. 17.

Omaha Public Schools hasn’t updated its data since our last report.

Elkhorn Public Schools reported Tuesday, Dec. 21, that it had 36 active COVID-19 cases, compared to 56 four days prior. Elkhorn Ridge Middle School reported the most cases: six.

Millard Public Schools reported Tuesday, Dec. 21, that it had 122 active cases in the district, compared to 136 four days prior. Two high schools had more than 10 cases, with seven other schools in the district reporting more than five cases:

  • Millard North High School reported 19 cases
  • Millard South High School reported 13 cases
  • Kiewit and Central middle schools each reported eight cases
  • Millard West High School and Neihardt Elementary each reported seven cases
  • Andersen and Beadle middle schools and Willowdale Elementary School reported five cases each

Papillion La Vista Community Schools had 44 active cases as of Dec. 20, compared to 41 the week prior; 31 were student cases, and 13 were among staff. 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 last reported nine active cases, compared to 30 reported Dec. 17. The district was also most recently reporting 455 recovered cases, compared to 391 reported as recovered on Dec. 17.

Council Bluffs Public Schools reported three active cases as of Thursday: two staff and one student. On Dec. 17, the district was reporting 45 active COVID-19 cases: 37 among students and still eight among staff.

Bellevue Public Schools reported 47 cases as of Dec. 23: 37 among students and 10 among staff. That compares with 51 active cases the week ending Dec. 16. Two Springs Elementary was reporting the most cases: nine. Bellevue East High School reported seven cases, and Fort Crook and LeMay elementary schools were each reporting five cases.

The district has reported 816 cases to date during this school year: 690 among students, and 126 among staff.

Westside Community Schools on Monday was reporting 29 active cases, up from 14 reported Dec. 17. Of the current cases, 17 are among students and 12 are among staff. The school has reported 534 cases to date during this school year: 436 among students, and 95 among staff.

Lincoln schools to require masks

Lincoln Public Schools on Monday announced that all students and staff would be required to wear masks when classes resume Tuesday.

School officials said in a news release Monday that the decision was based on “a rapid rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our community, new variants proving to be more contagious, booster vaccinations not yet available for children ages 12-15, and staff and sub shortages due to illness.”

According to the release, any students testing positive for COVID-19 will need to contact their school’s health office to determine next steps and figure out when they can return to school. Staff who test positive will be required to fill out the district’s C-19 form and await contact from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department risk management team to contact them.

“We have been monitoring community conditions over Winter Break and consulting with local health officials in determining protocols to help keep our schools open and our students and staff in school,” Supt. Steve Joel said in a news release Monday. “We have to consider the health and well-being of over 8,000 staff members and 41,000 students that are required to be in our buildings during the school day.”

LPS plans to revisit the requirement on Jan. 28.

Lincoln-Lancaster County update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on Monday reported nearly 800 cases the holiday weekend: 644 were confirmed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; 154 were confirmed Monday.

To date, the health department has reported 50,596 cases. The Lincoln-area death toll remained at 355.

As of Monday, Lincoln-area hospitals were caring for 112 COVID-19 patients, 19 of whom were on ventilators.

To date, 64.4% of Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated.

Bryan Health update

Bryan Health, based in Lincoln, reported Monday that it was caring for 66 COVID-19 patients — down from 79 reported Dec. 28 — and that 14 more patients were awaiting COVID-19 test results.

Of the hospital system’s current COVID-19 patients, 12 are on ventilators.

Bryan Health also reported Monday that 11 Bryan patients had died of COVID-19 since Tuesday, Dec. 28. To date, Bryan hospitals have lost 421 patients to COVID-19.

Douglas County update

DEATHS: The Douglas County Health Department on Monday reported a COVID-19 death: a vaccinated woman older than 65 has died, bringing the local death toll to 916.

CASES: DCHD also reported 249 positive COVID-19 cases had been confirmed since Sunday’s report, putting the local seven-day average at 691 cases after it shot up to 776 with Saturday’s report of 2,162 positive cases. The total number of local residents infected with the virus to date is now 105,929.

As expected, the week’s record number of tests turned out significant increases in positive cases across all age groups. Cases among those in their 20s and 30s accounted for the largest number of positive cases: 1,169 and 1,028 respectively for the week ending Jan. 1. There were also 700 cases reported among ages groups including school-aged children and 226 cases reported among children ages 5 and younger, the only age group not yet eligible for vaccination.

POSITIVITY: The health department also updated the Douglas County COVID-19 dashboard, showing huge increases in local testing and positivity numbers — higher than the previous peak reported in November 2020, DCHD said in its release.

The seven-day total of positive cases per 100,000 people jumped from 528.2 on Thursday to 858.7 as of Sunday after 6,298 positives were reported among the 31,690 tests conducted in the past week — the third-highest number since the start of the pandemic, though over a lower amount of tests from the top two reports; 6,490 positives were reported among 41,487 tests conducted the week of Dec. 5, 2020, and 6,447 positives were reported among 49,078 tests the week of Nov. 21, 2020. That average is also higher than the same data average for several major cities and hotspots for the week ending Wednesday, Dec. 29.

The Douglas County Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard showed a seven-day average of 858.7...
The Douglas County Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard showed a seven-day average of 858.7 cases per 100,000 in population. The metric used to level the average rate of infection regardless of population size is the highest in Douglas County than it's been since the health department first began tracking it in mid-February 2020.(Douglas County Health Department / WOWT)

The week’s latest testing numbers brought the local positivity rate as of Saturday to 21.1%, up from 11.8% on Dec. 25. The latest report puts the positivity rate at its highest level since May 9, 2020, when it was 22.6%. It’s also the biggest jump the health department has reported in more than 18 months; the only larger increase happened May 2, 2020, when the rate went from 9.3% to 25.4%.

Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse encouraged residents to wear masks — particularly as schools resume in-class learning — and get their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots.

“Mask-wearing isn’t magic, and it’s not the only thing we need to do,” Dr. Huse said. “But I strongly urge parents to have their children wear a mask as they return to school.”

HOSPITAL CAPACITY: Local hospital capacity fluctuates according to staffing levels. DCHD said that as of late Monday morning, local hospitals were 85% full with 209 staffed beds available, down from 277 reported on Sunday; and adult ICU beds were 90% occupied, with 29 staffed beds available, up from 25 reported a day earlier. Pediatric ICU beds were at 86% capacity with 19 beds available, up from 17 reported Sunday.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: Among those hospitalized were 338 COVID-19 patients, up from 310 reported Sunday. The highest number of hospitalizations in 2021 was 350 patients reported on Dec. 13. That total included seven pediatric patients, down from 10 reported a day prior. There were also 96 adult COVID-19 patients in local ICUs, up from 90 reported Sunday; 52 of them on ventilators, up from 47 reported a day prior.

Additionally, seven patients were awaiting COVID-19 test results, DCHD reported Monday.

VACCINATIONS: To date, 63.% of Douglas County residents are considered fully vaccinated. The most recent eligible age group is youth ages 5-11; so far, 22.5% of that population in the county is fully vaccinated.

VACCINATION BREAKTHROUGH: DCHD updated the county’s vaccine breakthrough data last week. As of Wednesday, the health department reported that 3.2% of COVID-19 cases were among fully vaccinated residents. That’s up from 2.6% reported by the Douglas County health director on Dec. 21.

Clarification: The positivity in this report was updated after publication to record the collection date percentage. The previous report recorded the report date percentage.

Iowa sees coronavirus surge with over 17,700 cases in a week

(AP) - State public health data indicates Iowa is beginning the new year with a large surge in coronavirus cases.

The state Department of Public Health on Monday posted 17,773 confirmed positive tests in the past seven days. That rate of about 2,500 cases a day is a significant jump from the 1,300 to 1,400 daily average during December.

The surge pushed Iowa’s 14-day positivity rate to 13.5%, a rate that signifies a high rate of spread. Hospitalizations fell slightly to 768 from 773 reported on Friday. The state reported 163 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, a slight drop from 170 reported Friday.

The CDC says 59% of Iowa’s population is fully vaccinated.

As COVID-19 variants continue to spread, UNMC is committed to following best practices to keep our students and employees safe. Learn more:

Posted by University of Nebraska Medical Center - UNMC on Monday, January 3, 2022

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.-2 p.m. at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 5544 Ames Ave. – Moderna & Pfizer for ages 5+
  • Noon-4 p.m. at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st. St. – All vaccines available.
  • 4-7 p.m. at Creighton Prep High School, located at 7400 Western Ave. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 5544 Ames Ave. – Pfizer for ages 5+ & Moderna vaccines available
  • 4-7 p.m. at Creighton Preparatory School, located at 7400 Western Ave. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 4-7 p.m. at Bryan High School, located at 4700 Giles Road – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 4-7 p.m. at Omaha North High Magnet School, located at 4410 N. 36th St. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • 9 a.m.-Noon at the Douglas County Health Department, located at 1111 S. 41st. St. – All vaccines available.
  • 9 a.m.-Noon at Omaha Kanya Baptist Church, located at 4730 N. 60th Ave. – Pfizer for ages 5+
  • Noon-3 p.m. at the Girls, Inc., located at 2811 N. 45th St. – All vaccines available.

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

Posted by Douglas County Health Department on Monday, January 3, 2022

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:

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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