The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

COVID-related Deaths Up by 7

 

December 30, 2020

The COVID-19 Risk Dial is showing a gradual improvement. Only a few weeks ago, the dial showed the Panhandle region in the Severe Risk area. Since then, conditions have moved to about the mid-point of High Risk.

The Panhandle Public Health District stresses the dial provides a summary of current conditions, with each color or risk level incorporating federal and national guidance. The risk dial is only guidance and is not intended to replace federal, state or local directed health measures.

The Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD) reported on Dec. 21 that seven more deaths occurred in the area related to the COVID-19 virus.

According to a release from Jessica Davies, Assistant Health Director and Wellness Coordinator at PPHD, the recent deaths include a man in his 80s from Cheyenne County, a woman in her 80s from Morrill County, a woman in her 70s from Sheridan County and four people from Scotts Bluff County (one woman in her 80s, one woman in her 90s, a man in his 70s and a man in his 90s).

This update brings the number of COVID-related deaths to 104 in the Panhandle area since March.

The PPHD is reporting there have been 29,438 tests with 7,527 returned positive and 104 deaths related to COVID-19. In the two weeks prior to December 28, when the data was last updated, the PPHD reported 410 cases. As of December 28, there were 14 active hospitalizations.

Also on December 21, PPHD Deputy Director of Health Promotions and Preparedness Tabi Prochazka said the area is preparing for a vaccine. Preparation includes updating and submitting numbers to the State. The PPHD recently received updated vaccine priority lists, and the National Guard has been assigned by the State of Nebraska to make phone calls to determine how many people by type of occupation will want the vaccine. The calls will ask who is an essential worker. Business owners and managers need to consider ● If the entire state was in total shut down status, what is the absolute minimum staff you would need to still keep your organization “up and running”? ● What positions does that number cover? (for example to keep the lights on in our service area, we need four technicians and two truck drivers).

Prochazka said they are only collecting numbers for Phase 1B which addresses the following categories: First Responders, Educators, Food/Agriculture, Utilities and Transportation.

Names of workers are not being collected, she said, only the total number by category.

 

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