Three Rivers Public Health Department dial increases in Washington County

Not all repercussions seen yet from Thanksgiving holiday

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Washington County's risk dial increased from 3.14 to 3.29. The risk dial for the Three Rivers Public Health Department jurisdiction of Dodge, Washington and Saunders counties jumped from 3.14 to 3.43.

Terra Uhing, executive director of the Three Rivers Public Health Department, said now is not the time for people to let their guard down.

"We haven't yet seen all the repercussions even from the Thanksgiving holiday," she said. "As you start to see some cases, hospitalizations lag a week and a half to two weeks behind. We've seen a decline in hospitalizations but I expect that to rise in the next week or two, as well, because of the holiday."

Uhing said it is still not a great idea to gather with people outside your home for Christmas.

"If you are doing that, put extreme mitigation strategies in place," she said. "Make sure people aren't sick, wear a mask, only have the mask off when you are eating."

Uhing said she knows people have COVID-19 fatigue.

"We are going to get through this," she said. "I need to people to stay home when they are sick. Get tested if they are in quarantine because they were in close contact with someone who has it."

People of all ages are being hospitalized with varying conditions. Uhing said not all of them need ventilators, but some need oxygen.

"It's older people, it's healthy people and those with underlying health conditions," she said. "That's why I want to remind people that this is a very serious time and we all have to do our part. We have the vaccine coming and we have a lot of waiting on that alone and making sure everyone will take the vaccine. We want to keep people as healthy and safe as we can."

Residents are encouraged to avoid the “Three Cs” — crowded places, close contact and confined spaces.

Testing is available through Test Nebraska. Visit testnebraska.com/en to schedule a COVID-19 test. There is no cost.

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