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Local COVID Numbers Regress Slightly

Risk Dial Moves from 2.17 to 2.5

The COVID-19 Risk Dial, a summary of conditions in the Panhandle Public Health District, was updated Monday, Feb. 8, to reflect a slight increase in the coronavirus impact.

In the February 1 report, the risk level was at 2.17. The number increased to 2.5 as of February 8. As of February 8, there were 14 active hospitalizations, a total of 33,765 tests completed with 8,486 returning positive, 7,090 people vaccinated and 180 deaths related to the coronavirus.

As of Feb. 1, the COVID-19 positivity rate for the Panhandle Region has dropped to 15.1 percent.

Since the Panhandle Public Health District began collecting data on the coronavirus about a year ago, 33,176 tests have been conducted with 8,389 returning positive. The PPHD has recorded 175 deaths related to the coronavirus. There are 13 active hospitalizations and 211 cases between January 18 and February 1.

There have been 872 confirmed cases in Cheyenne County, 37 in the last two weeks, and 17 deaths.

The majority of the confirmed cases were by close contact or community exposure. Most confirmed cases were in ages from 20 to 49, followed by 50 to 59, 60 to 69, 10 to 19, 70 to 79 and 80 and older.

The number of weekly confirmed cases peaked in November at 1,076 on November 8. Also in this period, on Nov. 1, the positivity rate hit a high of 64.3 percent; 1.467 tests were conducted and 944 were confirmed positive.

The PPHD also recorded 5,627 people were vaccinated.

Statewide, Nebraska has recorded 192,042 positive cases and 736,508 tests where the virus was not detected of 929,032 tests. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) also reports 305 active hospitalizations. DHHS reports Cheyenne County had 55 positive cases in the 14 days leading up to Feb. 3.

Statewide, 300,400 vaccines have been allocated, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Of that number, 198,194 vaccines have been administered. The State has the Moderna vaccine, which is given in two stages 28 days apart.

There are currently three vaccines available for the coronavirus: Moderna that is a two-shot process, BioNTech/Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson recently entered the market. The Moderna vaccine is said to be 94 percent effective.

The Unified Command says “a vaccine is how we get back to as close to normal life as possible.” Vaccines are available in phases. Phase 1, mid-December through January, was for healthcare and long-term care residents. Phase 1B, through early May, is for residents 65 and older, residents 18 and older with high risk medical conditions, first responders including firefighters and police, education staff, food and agriculture workers, utility workers, Corrections workers, US Postal Service workers, public transportation workers and grocery store workers. Phase 1C, scheduled for the middle of April through the middle of May, is vulnerable populations such as the disabled, congregate living, and Phase 2, scheduled for May through October, is for the general population, according to DHHS.

The Unified Command says the vaccine provides immunity against the coronavirus and does not contain a live virus. The Unified Command states in its Vaccine FAQ page from Dec. 16, 2020, that common side effects are pain and swelling on the arm where the vaccine was administered, fever, chills, tiredness, and headaches. The FAQ page says “no serious adverse events were observed in vaccine studies.”


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