KEARNEY — For the third consecutive week, the Two Rivers Public Health District’s COVID-19 risk dial remains in the red “pandemic” level.
The dial, released every Thursday, remains in that level because of the number of new COVID cases, incomplete contact tracing of COVID-infected individuals, and strained hospital capacity, especially in intensive-care units, Two Rivers said.
Cases fell a bit in the past week; there were 292 new cases Sept. 29-Oct. 5, but numbers remain high. Two Rivers reported 313 new cases last week, 367 new cases Sept. 17-23, and 400 the week of Sept. 8-14.
Weekly cases fell to zero in mid-June, but since then, they are climbing again. About 2,700 cases have been detected across Two Rivers in the last three months with 900 of those in the past three weeks. The Two Rivers area includes Buffalo, Dawson, Franklin, Gosper, Harlan, Kearney and Phelps counties.
One out of every nine COVID tests in Buffalo or Dawson counties in the past month was positive. More than 43% of those were in people under 30 years old.
Currently, 23 adults, but no children, are hospitalized due to COVID. Three children who were hospitalized for COVID-related illness are being monitored at home.
COVID patients fill 40% of the district’s ICU beds, leaving just 15% of ICU beds available. COVID patients are using six of the eight available ventilators in the Two Rivers region.
As of Tuesday, 45% of Two Rivers total population of 97,132, and almost 57% of those older than 18, have been fully vaccinated.
Free vaccinations are available at local pharmacies, and elsewhere throughout the Two Rivers region. For a list of sites and other details, visit trphd.org or call 888-669-7154.