Sewage monitoring at the Scottsbluff collection point shows a surge in the COVID virus in the area. Sewage monitoring can provide early warning of the spread of COVID in communities.
People infected with COVID can shed the virus in their feces even if they have no symptoms. The virus can then be detected in wastewater, allowing wastewater monitoring to detect the presence of COVID scales from people with and without symptoms. In this way, wastewater monitoring can serve as an early warning that COVID is spreading in a community, and communities can act quickly to prevent the spread of COVID. Now is a good time to keep up to date on your COVID vaccination.
The Nebraska Wastewater Surveillance System is a collaboration between wastewater treatment plants, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, and the Nebraska DHHS. There are 15 sampling sites throughout Nebraska with Scottsbluff and Chadron as panhandle sites. Visit tinyurl.com/dhhsCOVIDsurveillance for more information.
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Free COVID test kits are available at community locations throughout the Panhandle. Find a location nearby at https://tinyurl.com/4fkydcfe.
In addition to the available local test kits, Panhandle residents can also order four free at-home COVID tests at COVIDtests.gov or by calling 1-800-232-0233. Orders are usually shipped within 7-12 days. You can also find the current access to COVID tests at http://pphd.org/COVID-19.html.
Dwellers can have as many as their family needs for free, with a limit of six at a time. It’s important to have these on hand so that if a person or family member is experiencing a minor COVID-like symptom, they can test quickly to make a decision about how to keep themselves and others around them healthy and safe be able.
After collection, individuals can take the test themselves or get help via a video call. When done over the video call, they receive a certified lab report that can be used for travel, medical procedures, and other documentation needs.
Panhandle’s COVID Dashboard provides regional data on COVID trends in the region and is available at www.pphd.org. The Status COVID Dashboard is available at https://tinyurl.com/ufj9fcuf. For the most current information from the CDC, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Beginning May 19, children ages 5-11 can receive a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech 5 months after their first vaccination course. Since the pandemic began, more than 4.8 million children aged 5 to 11 have been diagnosed with COVID, 15,000 have been hospitalized and tragically over 180 have died. As cases rise across the country, a booster dose is sure to help restore and improve protection against serious illnesses.
The COVID vaccine is widely available throughout the Panhandle for those 5 years and older, there is no out-of-pocket expense. The COVID vaccine for children aged six months to four years will be available in the coming weeks.
If a person is housebound or has a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to access a COVID vaccine, call Vianey Zitterkopf, Registered Nurse, at 308-430-8390 or Janet Felix, Licensed General Practitioner, at 308 -672-4653. If a person lost their COVID vaccination card, go to https://tinyurl.com/2zh7uhhu.