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

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

COVID Numbers Improve

Vaccine Becoming Available

 

January 6, 2021 | View PDF

The COVID Risk Dial continues to slowly move back to a safer zone.

The Risk Dial for Sidney was recently just within the Severe category, the highest of the four levels. In the time since then, the Dial has continued to return toward the Moderate range. As of Dec. 28, the Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD) reported 7,708 positive cases from 30,052 people tested, and 114 deaths related to the COVID-19 virus.

In the days between Dec. 14 and Dec. 28, there were 350 additional cases. As of Dec. 28, there were 22 active hospitalizations.

Close Contact and Community Spread continue to be the primary ways people contract the virus, according to the PPHD.

As 2020 was coming to a close, the official COVID-19 numbers statewide in Nebraska showed an increase in the number of positive cases, but a decrease in hospitalizations. According to a Dec. 30 press release from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the total number of cases as of Dec. 29. Between Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 there were an additional 82 COVID-19-related deaths in the state for a total of 1,603.

The update also states to date there have been 105,135 Nebraskans who tested positive and recovered. The report says COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline with Nebraska hospitals reporting an average of 528 patients per day during the seven days prior to the Dec. 29 report.

The daily average of new positive cases has also decline in the Dec. 22-29 week with a daily average of 780 cases.

The DHHS reported on Dec. 8 142,603 positive cases, 787 hospitalizations and 1,277 deaths statewide. On Dec. 15, the number of positive cases increased to 150,861, hospitalizations decreased to 677 and total deaths increased to 1,438.

On Dec. 21, the number of positive cases increased to 158,324, hospitalizations decreased to 566 and deaths increased to 1,521. The last report of 2020, on Dec. 29, shows the number of positive cases at 163,781, hospitalizations at 517 and total deaths at 1,603.

As of Dec. 29, more than 27,000 doses of COVID-19 had been given to hospital, health care and emergency medical services workers, and those who will be vaccinating priority groups in the months to come.

On-site vaccinations of residents and staff of long-term facilities began the week of Dec. 29 as well. Shipments of additional vaccines were delayed by the recent winter storm.

On December 31, the PPHD reported vaccinations are advancing in the Panhandle with 4,200 doses received the week of December 21, enough to cover everyone in Phase 1. The PPHD notice said most of the long-term facilities are working with the Federal Pharmacy Partner Program and will be getting their vaccinations in January.

As the Panhandle receives more vaccine, the focus will be on people age 75 and older. People who have signed up will be notified when vaccine is available in the coming weeks.

Anyone 75 and older and interested in getting a COVID vaccine, please call 308-262-5764 or 308-633-2866 ext. 101 and leave a message with your name, date of birth, county, and phone number. The form can also be completed at https://tinyurl.com/ycpxzr5d. This will put you on the list and you will be called when vaccines are available. It may be several weeks.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to the public. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has not announced a date, but it is expected to be this spring before mass vaccinations can begin.

The DHHS reports the Pfizer vaccine as 95 percent effective and the Moderna vaccine 94 percent effective in phase three clinical trials. Neither vaccine contains a live virus, according to the DHHS.

 

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