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

'Headed In The Right Direction'

Nine New Kimball Cases, But COVID Vaccinations To Increase This Week

Panhandle Public Health District confirmed that there have been 110 new cases of COVID-19 in the Panhandle this past week from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1. Kimball has reported nine new cases in that time period, and most of the cases are due to community exposure.

PPHD reported that no COVID-19 variants have been identified in Nebraska or the Panhandle. The variants will only be tested and identified if there is a cluster.

Vaccinations will increase this week as 1,400 doses will be arriving in the Panhandle. According to PPHD, "doses are allocated based on percentages of population and amount received."

As of Monday, 5,612 people have been vaccinated in the Panhandle and more than 7,000 have registered to receive a shot.

People are encouraged to help elderly people sign up for the vaccinations by going onto the PPHD website and registering them. The website has two places to sign up – one for ages 75 and older and another spot for individuals 18 and older.

The Panhandle is now in the 1B phase of the vaccine timeline which is estimated to last until May.

Green is the color for the Governor's Directed Health Measure, which means no restrictions on bars, churches, weddings, funerals, gyms, salons and barber shops.

Schools activities are continuing to follow the NSAA requirements and that may be more restrictive. Check with the schools for details.

Kim Engel from PPHD said, "Looks like we are headed in the right direction, so keep up the good work."

Vaccinations so far have focused on the state's designated Phase 1A group – healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities and staff.

In Kimball, with those mostly completed, Kimball Health Services is now focusing on Phase 1B, starting with those 75 and older.

"Right now we are getting shipments of vaccine weekly but the numbers vary," said Jess Webb, emergency preparedness coordinator and clinic manager at KHS. "We will be calling patients at the beginning of each week when we know how many doses we'll be getting."

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is free to the public and is to be given in two doses, 28 days apart. A total of 90 initial doses were given in two drive-thru clinics in Kimball Dec. 31 and Jan. 5. Those 90 people were to receive their second dose on Feb. 3.

Another 60 initial doses will be given the following Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

The drive-thru approach has worked well, as long as people call either Panhandle Public Health or the KHS Clinic for a vaccination appointment.

"So far it's been a very efficient way to vaccinate patients," Webb said. "We received really positive feedback about how smoothly our first two drive-thru clinics went and how happy they were with the experience."

Anyone who wants vaccinated can call Panhandle Public Health District office at 308-262-5764 or the KHS COVID Hotline at (308) 235-1951 to be added to the list. When vaccines are available, appointments will be scheduled and people will get a phone call days ahead.

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