Tuesday Jan. 4 COVID-19 update: Douglas County confirms 6 deaths, 1,000+ cases

DHHS: Omicron variant prevalent in Nebraska
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 11:00 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2022 at 7:18 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 DHHS omicron report

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday issued a report on its Health Alert Network stating that the omicron variant now accounts for 52% of COVID-19 tests sequenced in the state in the past two weeks.

“Jurisdictional variation exists but given its rapid growth, it is likely omicron will soon become predominant even in regions with lower proportions of omicron identifications currently,” the DHHS report states.

The report goes on to say that the Regeneron antibody treatment has been rendered ineffective against the omicron variant, but that Sotrovimab — which is in short supply nationally and statewide, as is Paxlovid — still works.

“Prioritization of therapeutics will be required as we await improvement in the supply chain,” the update states.

The National Institutes of Health advised of such supply chain issues in an update on Dec. 23, stating: “With the increase in cases of COVID-19 and the emergence of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of concern, there may be logistical or supply constraints that make it impossible to offer the available therapy to all eligible patients, making patient triage necessary.”

In that report, NIH outlined recommendations for such triage. DHHS, in turn, is recommending treatment prioritizations, which mirror the initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout population priorities. The DHHS document also outlines treatment suggestions and priorities for those high-risk outpatients with mild to moderate omicron COVID-19.

Health director urges masking at schools

Noting that the community is still battling the delta variant as the omicron variant “is making its presence felt in Douglas County and the surrounding area,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse urged parents to consider masking their children for the return to school.

In Tuesday’s update, the Douglas County Health Department also thanked the community “who have responded to the need for testing, and the thousands who continue to show up for vaccinations and booster shots.”

Dr. Huse continues to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The vaccines and testing are our best tools against COVID-19 at this time,” she said. “We are asking everyone to make the safe and healthy choice to be vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Douglas County update

DEATHS: The Douglas County Health Department on Tuesday reported six COVID-19 deaths: three unvaccinated men — one in his 50s, one in his 60s, and one in his 70s; two vaccinated women in their 60s, and an unvaccinated woman older than age 80 has passed.

The latest report brings the local COVID-19 death toll to 922.

CASES: DCHD also reported 1,038 positive COVID-19 cases had been confirmed since Monday’s report, jumping the local seven-day average to 768 cases from 691 a day earlier.

The health department said the new case totals were from tests conducted Monday and not representative of a backlog and were the second-largest new case report since the start of the pandemic. The highest number, reported Saturday, included a one-day total of 1,188 cases from Thursday testing. The third-highest one-day positive case total was 937 cases from testing on Nov. 18, 2020.

The total number of local residents infected with the virus to date is now 106,943.

A week ago, the local seven-day average was 296 cases. Two weeks ago, it was 255 cases. About a month ago, it was 290 cases. Three months ago, it was 160 cases. Six months ago, it was 17 cases.

The seven-day average per 100,000 for Douglas County also increased, from 858.7 to 942.7 cases.

HOSPITAL CAPACITY: Local hospital capacity fluctuates according to staffing levels. The health department reported Tuesday afternoon that local hospitals were at 93% capacity, with 103 beds available, down from 209 on Monday and 277 reported on Sunday. Adult ICU beds were 91% occupied, with 26 beds available, down from 29 reported a day earlier. Pediatric ICU beds were at 85% capacity with 20 beds available, up from 19 on Monday and 17 reported Sunday.

HOSPITALIZATIONS: Among those hospitalized were 340 COVID-19 patients, up from 338 reported Monday and 310 on Sunday. Tuesday’s total still included seven pediatric patients. There were also 105 adult COVID-19 patients in local ICUs as of Tuesday, up from 96 reported Monday morning and 90 reported Sunday. Of the current ICU patients, 55 of them were on ventilators, up from 52 reported a day prior.

Additionally, five patients were awaiting COVID-19 test results, DCHD reported Tuesday.

The highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in 2021 was 350 patients reported on Dec. 13.

Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly indicated the vaccination status of some of the COVID-19 deaths reported Tuesday. 6 News regrets the error.

Creighton, Ralston to require masks

Creighton University and Ralston Public Schools are among the latest educational settings to issue mask requirements in the new year.

In a letter to parents and staff, the superintendent of Ralston Public Schools said masks will be required when school resumes Wednesday.

Dr. Mark Adler said Ralston’s District Health Team has seen an increase in confirmed positive cases among students and staff since the first semester ended Dec. 21.

Creighton University also announced a mask requirement Tuesday. The university tweeted that its mandate, which will apply to most indoor spaces on campus, would go into effect on Saturday; the CU spring semester starts Wednesday, Jan. 12.

A Creighton spokesman confirmed to 6 News that the mandate would apply to Bluejay games at CHI Health Center.

Three Rivers update

Three Rivers Public Health Department on Tuesday reported 15 recent COVID-19 deaths in the community, bringing the death toll in the health district to 180. 3RPHD, which includes Dodge, Saunders, and Washington counties, has reported 20 COVID-19 deaths since Dec. 2.

The health district also reported Tuesday that two cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed in the health district.

As of Jan. 2, the positivity rate in Dodge County is 17.2%, up from 16.4% on Dec. 26 and 10.3% on Dec 19. In Saunders County, it’s 29.9%, up from 20.6% on Dec. 26; on Dec. 12, it was 7.2%. In Washington County, it’s 27.1%, up from 18.8% on Dec. 26 and 13.2% on Dec. 19.

Noting that initial research does indicate the omicron variant may produce milder symptoms than previous variants, 3RPHD Executive Director Terra Uhing urged the community to get vaccinated and take precautions to contain spread and protect local hospital capacity.

“Our hospital systems continue to be near or at capacity with COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of which are unvaccinated. If you are sick, please stay home, get tested if you have symptoms, wear a mask if you are around others and wash your hands often,” she said.

According to the 3RPDH COVID-19 dashboard, 59.8% of the health district’s population ages 5 and older is fully vaccinated.

Mavericks hockey program reports cases

The University of Nebraska-Omaha’s weekend hockey series with Denver has been postponed due to COVID-19 in the Mavericks program.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference issued a press release Tuesday afternoon and the Mavericks’ Athletic Director Adrian Dowell followed with a post on Twitter.

Lincoln-Lancaster County update

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on Tuesday moved its risk dial up to red, meaning the risk of COVID-19 spread and impact in the community is severe.”

LLCHD reported three COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday: a vaccinated man in his 50s, and two unvaccinated women in their 70s. The COVID-19 death toll there is now 358.

The health department also reported 351 positive cases on Tuesday, bringing the total cases reported to 50,947.

Lancaster County has 113 hospitalized with COVID-19, 17 of whom are on ventilators.

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

Kansas sees record COVID cases; hospital workers sidelined

(AP) - Kansas is reporting a record seven-day average for new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as one of the state’s largest hospitals struggles to treat an influx of patients.

State health department data released Monday shows Kansas reported an average of 3,134 new COVID-19 cases a day for the seven days ending Monday. That’s 13% higher than the previous record of 2,767 cases per day for the seven days ending Nov. 18, 2020.

At the University of Kansas Hospital, Chief Medical Officer Steve Stites says more than 500 of more than 13,000 employees are sick or awaiting test results.

CDC updated its recommendations for use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. - People who got a Pfizer-BioNTech...

Posted by CDC on Tuesday, January 4, 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: https://www.douglascountyhealth.com/latest-news 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.

Pottawattamie County

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:

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

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