South Heartland District Health Department

The South Heartland Health District recorded 24 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus disease over the last week — down from 30 in each of the two previous weeks.

The new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for April 27 through May 3 included 18 in Adams County, six in Clay County, and zero in Webster and Nuckolls counties, the district health department said in a news release.

The health district encompasses those four counties. Health department headquarters are in Hastings.

Since the first case was reported on March 18, 2020, a total of 4,844 South Heartland residents have been confirmed positive for COVID-19. Those include 3,118 cases in Adams County, 766 cases in Clay, 548 cases in Nuckolls, and 412 cases in Webster.

Michele Bever, health department executive director, also reported the districtwide 14-day average of daily new cases is at 7.6 per 100,000 and has remained just under the district’s goal of 8 per 100,000 for the fifth day in a row.

By county, the 14-day average of daily cases per 100,000 is 8.4 in Adams, 11.5 in Clay County, 0.0 in Nuckolls County and 2.0 in Webster County.

“Overall, this is good news for our four-county region,” Bever said. “But we’d like to see all four counties get below the target 14-day average of eight cases per 100,000 and sustain it there.”

Bever noted that after being below eight new cases per 100,000 for 24 days in a row, Clay County crept up above the goal and has remained there for the past nine days.

Adams County has remained above the target for all but three of the past 33 days.

“Nuckolls’ and Webster’s low average numbers of new cases per 100,000 are helping to bring the overall rate down for the district,” Bever said.

According to South Heartland statistics, 47% of district residents eligible for a vaccine (those age 16 and up) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 38% of eligible residents have completed their one- or two-dose regimen. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the final dose of the series.

By county, 38.2% of eligible Adams County residents are fully vaccinated — just as are 36.1% of eligible Clay County residents, 39.4% of eligible Nuckolls County residents and 40.3% of eligible Webster County residents.

Bever said 75% of district residents age 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

She is urging residents to do their part for the community’s health by getting vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19, which can have serious, life-threatening consequences. Plus, getting a COVID-19 vaccine will help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19,” she said.

Bever took the opportunity in Monday’s news release to share a happy story from her own family that indicates the benefits of being vaccinated.

“As more of us get vaccinated, this helps us get back to normal. After you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing more — like gathering safely indoors without masks with others who are fully vaccinated,” she said.

“Our extended families all got vaccinated so we could gather safely to celebrate my father-in-law’s 100th birthday in Indiana last month. Many of us had not seen each other for over a year or more due to COVID restrictions. It was so wonderful to be together to celebrate this momentous occasion.”

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