Ten recent deaths in the six counties of the west central health district – mostly in the North Platte area — are possibly related to COVID-19, the health district said Thursday through its online “dashboard” of information.
The 10 deaths are classified as “results pending,” on the west central health district’s dashboard, with no information about who is investigating the cause of death, or how long it might take.
At least three of those deaths, including the death of Dr. Leland Lamberty, have been listed in the “results pending” category since mid-September. The other seven deaths were listed there during the last week.
Overall, a sharp spike in positive cases was reported on Monday, Oct. 5 — 26 new COVID-19 cases in the district — the highest daily total since Aug. 20.
Since then, 19 new cases have been reported in three days, according to the WCDHD’s dashboard.
As of Friday, Oct. 9, 10 people were hospitalized at Great Plains Health for COVID-19 related treatment. One of them was on a respirator, Great Plains Health spokeswoman Megan McGown said.
Elsewhere, at least one of North Platte’s long-term care homes has reportedly had several cases in recent days, although exact numbers are not available. Spokespersons from the health district and the care homes did not reply Friday to requests for information.
However, a Bulletin reader with a grandparent in the Centennial Retirement Home said there were 12 cases there on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The reader also provided a photo of an attendant at Centennial who was not wearing a mask at work, taken in early September. The reader complained to Centennial’s executive director Julie Skala and provided a copy of email conversation to the Bulletin. Skala thanked her for informing her and promised to promptly correct the situation.
At the North Platte Community College campus, 13 new positive cases were reported among students from Oct. 5-9, according to campus communiques, summaries of which have been obtained by the Bulletin. (On Oct. 14, the college said that number was incorrect, but did not specify further. — Editor.)
Meanwhile, the health department is asking for help in containing the outbreak, asking people to cooperate with contact tracers/investigations, so those who were apt to be exposed can be quarantined and monitored.
The “risk dial” that is kept by the WCDHD moved from 2.12 up to a 2.35 on Thursday, remaining within the “elevated” risk level. It has been at approximately the same level since late July.
In a press release Thursday evening, WCDHD Executive Director Shannon Vanderheiden said there were increases from Oct. 2-8 in the positivity rate, trajectory of cases, average daily hospitalizations and the number of occupied medical and surgical beds.
Vanderheiden did not provide actual numbers in the release.
She said that, “Your partnership and collaboration in identifying close contacts is significant in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, bringing our community to a lower risk of spread.”
The WCDHD dashboard has migrated to a slightly different location on the internet. You will find it HERE.