Panhandle COVID Risk Dial Up Slightly


      The Panhandle Public Health District’s COVID-19 Risk Dial moved up this week, reflecting an increase in the number of new cases, the relatively low percentage of fully vaccinated residents, and the threat from the Delta variant of the virus.

       The Risk Dial moved from on the dividing line between the green or low category and the yellow or moderate range to a quarter of the way into the yellow with the risk level at 1.25.

      Numbers for the Panhandle remain low despite rise in risk. The Panhandle has had just 46 new confirmed cases in the last 14 days – a little over 3 per day – to reach 9,235 since the start of the pandemic.

       There have been 197 deaths in that time and there are currently 2 hospitalized cases. 32% of the population had been vaccinated as of Monday afternoon. 

      Dawes County has had just 2 new cases in the last 14 days for a total of 773 with 20 deaths. Sheridan County had no new cases over the last 2 weeks and remains at 540 total cases with 21 deaths. 

      Box Butte County added 8 cases in the last 14 days and stands at 967 total cases and 11 deaths. The numbers for Sioux County haven’t changed in over 4 months with 31 cases and 1 death. 

      The number of new COVID-19 cases per day in the U.S. have doubled over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates, and Fourth of July gatherings. 

      Infections jumped from an average of 11,000 per day June 23 to about 23,600 a day on Monday.

      All but two states — Maine and South Dakota — report that case numbers have risen over the past two weeks and some parts of the country are running up against deep vaccine resistance.