CONTACTKhalilah LeGrand, (402) 471-9313, firstname.lastname@example.org
LINCOLN – The latest statewide total of COVID-19 cases is 177,670 as of Jan. 12. There have been 99 COVID-19-related deaths in Nebraska reported in the last seven days, for a total of 1,791. To date, a total of 120,700 Nebraskans testing positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
While still elevated, COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued to come down, with Nebraska hospitals caring for an average of 481 COVID-19 patients a day over the last seven days. Averages in prior weeks were 522, 528, and 598 COVID-19 patients.
The daily average of new positive cases in the last week was 948, compared to 1,036 daily cases last week, 780 and 1,066 cases a day in recent weeks.
Dr. Gary Anthone, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS, said, “We're still in the early days of this vaccination effort and so it's critical we continue to limit virus spread. Wearing a mask, washing hands, and staying home when you're sick are the best tools to fight against COVID-19."
Anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine and get tested. Nebraskans are reminded to wear a mask, watch your distance, wash hands often, and avoid the 3Cs – crowded places, close contact with others, and confined spaces – every time you're away from home.
Nebraska will adjust the state's current COVID-19 vaccination plan to expand Phase 1B priority groups in accordance with federal recommendations.
Phase 1B will now include those 65 and older, those who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19, as well as workers in critical industries who are unable to work remotely. The high-risk group will include those with medical conditions identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as increasing the risk for severe COVID-19.
For most areas, Phase 1B is projected to begin at the start of February.
Those newly eligible for Phase 1B should visit their local health department website to see if electronic signup is available to be notified when vaccination begins in their area.
DHHS immunization leaders will hold a Facebook Live session tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 14 at 12:15 p.m. CT to discuss new age groups and answer questions. For those unable to join, the discussion will be archived and available on the video tab of the DHHS Facebook page.
In the coming weeks DHHS will launch a website to help Nebraskans register for COVID-19 vaccination and receive updates, scheduling information and follow-up reminders. Those interested in registering will be asked to provide basic information to help determine eligibility, according to priority groups and phases outlined in Nebraska's vaccination plan, and be notified when clinics begin in your area.
The DHHS COVID-19 hotline is available for those with vaccine-related questions at (833) 998-2275. The hotline is staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT.
The Pfizer vaccine was 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine 94% effective in phase three clinical trials. Comparatively, the flu vaccine is generally 40 to 60% effective. Neither vaccine contains a live virus and cannot give individuals COVID-19. Two vaccine doses are needed to reach full effectiveness against COVID-19, and the same brand of vaccine must be administered for both doses.
The state is following the recommendations of CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Priority groups and timing projections remain tentative and will be adjusted as federal recommendations are issued and as vaccine shipments are scheduled.
Nebraska currently receives about 23,000 first doses a week, in addition to shipments of second doses. The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to the public and it's expected to be spring before sufficient supplies are available to begin mass vaccination.
As of Tuesday, more than 71,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been given to Nebraska hospital, health care and emergency medical services workers, and those who will be vaccinating priority groups in the months to come.
More than 40% of the state's 90,000 health care workers have received their first dose, with more than 12,000 receiving second doses as of Tuesday.
Vaccination continues for residents and staff of Nebraska's long-term care facilities. By the end of this week, residents and staff at more than 300 facilities will have received their first vaccine dose. Second dose clinics will begin next week.
The DHHS COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard provides a daily update on Nebraska's vaccination effort, and includes a daily total of doses given, as well as the total number of first and second doses, and a breakdown of first and second doses given by age, gender, race, and ethnicity. The dashboard also reports the percent of the population aged 16 and older completing COVID-19 vaccination. Thus far, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for those aged 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine approved for those aged 18 and older.
A link to the COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard can be found at the top of the DHHS COVID-19 Cases dashboard, and can be accessed directly at this link. Those using Internet Explorer should follow this link.
The vaccination dashboard is updated each evening with data from the prior day.
COVID-19 Case Dashboard Update
The DHHS COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated this evening to display a heat map based on each county's case rate over the last 14 days. A widely used metric, the case rate data helps show areas with greater COVID-19 cases during the last two weeks.
The new map will launch as part of the dashboard's daily update.
Test Nebraska sites will be open on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and there will be no interruption in lab services over the holiday.
Testing continues to be crucial to limiting COVID-19. Free testing is available and anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who is experiencing any symptoms is encouraged to schedule an appointment at one of the more than 60 Test Nebraska sites across the state.
COVID-19 symptoms can include a fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, tiredness, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
Visit Testnebraska.com, or TestNebraska.com/es for Spanish, to schedule an appointment. Those with questions about testing, or who need help completing the online assessment, can call the Test Nebraska hotline at (402) 207-9377.
DHMs Remain for Indoor Gatherings
A five-phase series of Directed Health Measures (DHMs) remain in effect for the entire state. DHM restrictions are aimed at preserving hospital capacity for urgent medical care as COVID-19 hospitalizations remain elevated.
Less than 15% of hospital beds are needed for COVID-19 patients, and the state is in the blue threshold, which is the fourth of the five series of directives. Through Jan. 31, indoor gatherings are restricted to 75% of capacity.
An outline of the DHMs is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/hmadcuih3j2xlyd/Color-Coded%20%20Phase%20Comparison%2011.13.20.pdf?dl=0.
DHHS will continue to share new information via its Coronavirus website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.