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COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Risk in Our Area

November 27, 2020

This COVID-19 Risk Dial provides a summary of current conditions for the four counties of the East-Central District Health Department jurisdiction, individually and collectively. Each color incorporates federal and national guidance published by top public health experts and is coupled with specific guidance.

This is only guidance and does not replace federal, state, or local directed health measures. At-risk and vulnerable populations should take stringent precautions.

For information on statewide cases, including numbers by county, please see the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Dashboard


How Risk Dial Numbers are Determined

Risk Dial numbers are determined using a number of factors, not just the number of cases in a city or county.  The eight factors that are taken into consideration when determining a risk dial number are listed and explained below.

  • R1. Positivity Rate (Overall) [The trajectory of the Positivity Rate in the past 14 days]
  • R2. Positivity Rate (Weekly) [The trajectory of the Positivity Rate in the past 14 days]
  • R3. Cases [The trajectory of the cases in the past 14 days]
  • R4. Adult ICU Availability [Health Care System Capacity]
  • R5. Ventilator Availability [Availability of Critical Medical Equipment]
  • R6. Community Spread [Identifying community clusters/community spread] –This is the health department’s capacity for identifying the source of the infection. Number of new cases, level of staffing, and the presence of community spread all affect the health department’s ability to identify the source of the exposure.
  • R7. Testing Availability—This variable is affected by the speed at which a test can be secured, the speed at which the results return, and the overall amount of testing that occur in the health district. Subject to issues outside of our control (e.g., long delays in lab processing).
  • R8. Contact Tracing [Ability to trace all the contacts of the positive cases within 24 hours]— Number of new cases, level of staffing, and the presence of community spread all affect the health department’s ability to identify and investigate all of the contacts within all cases. Complexity of the cases can also adversely affect this variable (e.g., mass gatherings where people are not wearing masks).

Free COVID-19 Testing Now Available

Good Neighbor Community Health Center is now a site for COVID-19 testing.  The tests are free to anyone and do not require a doctor's orders. To sign up for the test, please visit TestNebraska.  You will be given a brief survey and then offered a choice of test sites and times.  All tests are performed in your vehicle; no walk-up testing.  Results from the test are generally available within 72 hours.  

People with COVID-19 have a wide range of symptoms, and the CDC has now expanded that list to include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.  Some people with the virus remain asymptomatic (they do not have symptoms), but can spread the virus to others.  ECDHD will continue to update this information when necessary.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider.

Please self-report by phone to ECDHD's COVID19 Hotline if you have been in close contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Hotline Number:  (402) 562-8960  (Mon. - Thurs. 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Fri. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

Persons who need general information about COVID-19 should call 2-1-1 or the NE Dept. of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Information Line at (402) 552-6645.

COVID-19 (Novel coronavirus)

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.  The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.  However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Medical-grade facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wear cloth face coverings when out in public.  These masks are NOT a replacement for social distancing measures.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Protect Yourself and Others

More Information about COVID-19

Everyday Life with COVID-19

What is Social Distancing and Why Does it Matter?

Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.  Examples of social distancing that allow you to avoid larger crowds or crowded spaces are:

  • Working from home instead of at the office
  • Closing schools or switching to online classes
  • Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person
  • Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings