KEARNEY, Neb. (TRPHD) –This is a special early edition due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Two Rivers Public Health updated the weekly risk dial on Thursday, November 25. The level of risk has elevated farther into the red “Pandemic” level. Many factors go into determining the level of risk each week. The following factors contributed to this week’s determination:
• COVID-19 cases have increased rapidly across TRPHD in the past 4 weeks. Daily case averages have doubled in all counties except Dawson and Phelps in the past three weeks. Dawson and Phelps saw a roughly 50% increase in cases.
• There are reports of smaller clusters of new COVID cases in
smaller cities in Kearney, Dawson and Buffalo counties.
• Over 40% of currently-occupied beds in TRPHD are for COVID-related hospitalizations. ICU availability is currently lower than 8%.
• Due to recent management issues with State COVID case investigation teams, dramatically increased volume of positive cases and the State’s inability to complete disease investigation or contact tracing, public health efforts have been reduced across the district over the past month.
• Testing availability will be limited across the district for the remainder of this week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
• Test turnaround times from sample collection to contact tracing have increased. Although most patients are informed as soon as results become available, the contact
tracing and subsequent follow-up by the department seems to be delayed over the past month.
• For these reasons, the risk dial is further elevated this week deeper within the ‘pandemic’ level.
The full weekly report can now be found online at https://www.trphd.org/covid-19/.
To conclude, daily case counts continue to rise rapidly across TRPHD. Daily incidence rates have shown signs of sustained acceleration since early November. This trend is expected to continue for the upcoming week at least. There appears to be reduced ICU availability across hospitals in the district as well as sustained high rates of COVID-related medical/surgical bed usage. Residents are advised to exercise utmost caution and adhere to strict preventive measures (social distancing, correct and consistent masking) at all times to protect themselves and others.
ABOUT TWO RIVERS PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Two Rivers Public Health Department engages collaborative partners, community leaders and the public to promote healthy lifestyles, provide preventative education, assure environmental quality, and create more healthy and safe communities for all who live within the district. Follow TRPHD on Facebook and Twitter @2RPHD.