Panhandle Public Health District Director Kim Engel says the Panhandle will start getting larger shipments of the COVID vaccines next week.
Engel says 1,100 doses plus required 2nd doses should arrive weekly.
When the new shipments arrive, those 65 and older or persons with medical conditions will be eligible for the vaccine. PPHD is registering people in those groups online at https://tinyurl.com/ycpxzr5d or by calling one of 2 PPHD phone numbers: 308-262-5764 or 308-633-2866 ext. 101.
Engel says over 4,700 people have signed up so far and will be contacted and scheduled for appointments when vaccine is available in their area. There are over 15,000 Panhandle residents 65 and older, so there will be a wait for most people.
The vaccine so far has been limited to health care providers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, and those 75 and older first. To date, 4,385 people in those categories have been vaccinated.
PPHD’s COVID-19 Risk Dial edged downward this week from about 2/3rds of the way through the orange or high zone to about 40% through it, dropping the risk level from 2.67 to 2.50.
As for COVID-19 numbers, Panhandle Unified Command reports 62 new cases since last Thursday, bringing the total to 8,117. Two deaths, a Cheyenne County woman in her 50s and a Morrill County man in his 60s, bring that count to 158.
There have been 285 cases in the Panhandle in the last 14 days and 10 COVID cases are hospitalized. 47% of all hospital beds in the region remain available along with 23% of ICU beds and 91% of ventilators.
Dawes County has had 608 total positive cases, 30 in the last 14 days, with 17 total deaths. After the first full week of spring classes, Chadron State College has 9 active cases, all students, and 166 total cases, 133 of them students.
Sheridan County is at 439 cases, also 30 in the last 2 weeks, and 12 deaths, while Box Butte County has 868 cases, 25 in the last 14 days and 8 deaths. Sioux County has added 2 cases in the last 2 weeks for a total of 26 with 1 death.