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

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher Sun-Telegraph 

COVID Risk Dial Sees Slight Regression

Risk Dial Increases from 1.38 to 1.63


April 14, 2021 | View PDF

The COVID-19 Risk Dial shows steady improvement for the Panhandle region. As of April 5, the Risk Dial was at 1.38, down from 1.53 the week before.

The Risk Dial is a summary of conditions for the Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD) jurisdiction. It is divided into four levels from low to severe. PPHD stresses the Risk Dial is only a guide. It does not replace federal, state or locally directed health measures. The PPHD continues to advise at-risk and vulnerable individuals to practice stringent precautions.

Cheyenne County's risk level is at 1.4, only slightly higher than the region's 1.38. Sidney is also within the Moderate risk level at a 1.6. The numbers regressed slightly as of April 12, with the Risk Dial moving to 1.63.

According to the April 12 report, there are three active hospitalizations in the region, and 44 cases between March 29 and April 12. Last week's positivity rate was 10.2 percent, compared to 3.6 percent the week before. So far to date, there have been 37,174 tests administered in the Panhandle with 8,945 tests returning positive. There have been 24,458 people vaccinated and 191 deaths related to the coronavirus.

The majority of confirmed cases were through Close Contact and Community Exposure.

Test Nebraska sites include Sidney Regional Medical Center's Walk-in Clinic on Glover Road 7 a.m. To 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; Regional West Health Services at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff; Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance; and Chadron Community Hospital. Additional testing sites include Morrill County Community Hospital in Bridgeport, Alliance Community Pharmacy, and Community Action Health Center in Gering.

Statewide, hospitalizations have increased, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. On April 7, the DHHS reported 151 patients hospitalized. Hospitals in Nebraska cared for an average of 134 COVID-19 patients per day since the end of March. The DHHS reports ages of hospitalized patients are younger than previous weeks. In January, the average age was 61 and in March it was 51. The DHHS reports the decrease in older ages hospitalized is due in part to the number of people in the older population who have been vaccinated. Also impacting the number is the variants in Nebraska are increasing, which are more infectious and cause more serious illness to young people.

As of April 5, Nebraska moved to Phase 2B. Phase 2B includes all residents ages 16-49. However, that does not mean every health district will immediately be able to vaccinate any adult, according to the DHHS. Some health departments may start Phase 2B by prioritizing according to age within Phase 2B age range. Beginning April 5, the state anticipated 25,740 doses of Pfizer, 19,200 doses of Moderna and 27,600 doses of Johnson and Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Those receiving their first dose of Pfizer or Moderna are reminded to keep their vaccination record card in a safe place and take it to their second dose appointment. The Pfizer vaccine is reported to be 95 percent effective and the Moderna vaccine 94 percent in three clinical trials. Two doses are needed for full effectiveness.


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