Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Another Kimball County COVID Case

Health Official Tells Observer About People Bullying Some With Virus

From Friday to Monday, 13 more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Panhandle. Kimball County has one case and Scotts Bluff and Box Butte counties share the remaining 12. A male in his 50s is the latest Kimball County case and his exposure type is reported as community spread.

According to Panhandle Public Health District, all close contacts will be quarantined and actively monitored daily for fever and respiratory symptoms by public health officials.

Jessica Davies from Panhandle Public Health District commented to the Observer about some individuals who had tested positive and then received threats from others in the community. Davies herself has seen documentation of those threats usually occurring in smaller communities where people know right away who tested positive.

Davies said, “I can get it just as much as the next person.”

She continued that people were just trying to recover from the virus, then they must deal with bullying and threatening messages. She said, “It’s just awful.”

Davies continued to explain that if she got infected she feels that she could recover pretty easily and quickly, “but who am I going to spread it to, who is not going to recover as well?” She continued, “We must protect the most vulnerable of our society.” Sometimes we must reflect “Who are we and who do we need to protect?”

Davies said she is confident in the public health system in Nebraska and feels they have been very proactive managing the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping the public informed.

In other Panhandle Public Health District news, PPHD has unveiled a standardized procedure to assess the risk of COVID-19 transmission called a Risk Dial. The risk level looks at the past three weeks worth of data. PPHD insisted it is not a prediction for the future. The Risk Dial covers the entire Panhandle, each county and all of the communities in the Panhandle are covered but separated out. Eight of the 12 counties in the PPHD are ranked in the yellow category.

Even though Kimball County has slowed the spread, it is still in the yellow or moderate level, as well as the community of Kimball. The explanation behind the yellow or moderate risk for Kimball County is based on a number of things including overall positive tests, adult ICU bed availability in the region, ventilator and testing availability and contact tracing.

Previously, the Risk Dial showed Bridgeport, Bayard and Minatare in the red zone, but this week those communities have been lowered to the yellow or moderate category. The communities of Potter, Dix, Hemingford, Oshkosh, Big Springs, Chadron, Hay Springs and Hyannis are in the green zone or low risk level.

PPHD has begun to mention community exposure sites, this means specific places where an individual was positive, they were in the virus shedding stage and they cannot identify all the people that were at that location.

The risk of COVID spread Risk Dial and maps are updated on Tuesdays.

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