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Two River’s risk dial moves into pandemic level

The Two Rivers Public Health risk dial has moved up into the pandemic level as of Thursday,...
The Two Rivers Public Health risk dial has moved up into the pandemic level as of Thursday, September 23, 2021.(Two Rivers Public Health Department)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:56 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:57 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The Two Rivers Public Health Department has moved its weekly risk dial into the red “pandemic” level on Thursday, September 23.

The department said it has reported 316 cases of COVID-19 between September 15-21; over 20% of tests conducted outside long term care facilities returned positive. In the past month, long term care testing (staff and residents) has returned over 45 positive results.

The weekly COVID case counts in Lexington and Holdrege are over four times that recorded a month previously. Almost a quarter of total COVID cases recorded in the city of Kearney in this year were recorded in September.

COVID-related hospitalizations account for over 20% of Medical/ Surgical bed occupancy, which includes 30 adult inpatients, 2 pediatric inpatients, and 4 persons under investigation; only a quarter of staffed beds are currently available in TRPHD.

ICU availability has fallen further, only 6 out of 28 that are staffed are currently available.

Hospitals in the city of Kearney and Phelps County report near-capacity occupancy, bed availability has dropped across the entire district. There are 5 COVID patients currently on ventilator support across TRPHD.

Testing, contact tracing and case investigations continue to be constrained by personnel and organizational shortages.

As of Sep 21, 2021, 44% of TRPHD’s total population and almost 56% of the adult population (18+ years) has been fully vaccinated across the district.

In light of rising incidence rates connected to the newer delta variant, TRPHD strongly urges all unvaccinated vaccine-eligible residents to avail of the COVID vaccination through their healthcare provider, pharmacy or TRPHD.

For schedule of vaccination clinics, see www.trphd.org

For these reasons, the risk dial is raised this week and enters ‘pandemic’ designation. The raised dial level reflects the continuing increase in cases, dramatically constrained medical/surgical bed availability and ICU utilization rates, reduced testing availability, insufficient contact tracing and rising COVID hospitalizations in the district.

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