A media conference this morning at Blair City Hall involving Three Rivers Public Health Department, Washington County Emergency Management and others gave some details on the double Covid-19 infections found at Carter Place, a Blair Senior Facility. Terra Uhing, director of Three Rivers says that some staff members and first responders were exposed to the virus when one of the infected residents was taken to the hospital.
Standard medical procedures were used, but universal precautions, which include the use of a face mask, were not in place at that time. The ambulance used was not prepped for Covid-19 precautions, but has since been decontaminated. It is being suggested that those first responders with the Blair Volunteer Fire and Rescue department decline responding to an emergency if they have a family member in a high risk category.
Carter House currently has 23 residents according to Uhing, but currently no others are showing symptoms of the virus. She says every incident should now be responded to as if it were a Covid-19 infection. Some have criticized the “lockdown” restrictions at nursing facilities, but Uhing says those are standard state guidelines for communicable diseases that need to be followed to the T in order to contain the spread of the illness.
Three new cases of Covid-19 reported in the Three Rivers Public Health District – one in Dodge, one in Saunders, and one in Washington County, the latest bringing Washington County’s total to five. A woman in her sixties is self isolated. Nebraska’s most recent total now is 61 cases of the virus. Harrison County Home and Public Health Officials say they are awaiting lab results on two more people who are thought to be infected with Covid-19, which will bring the total of that Iowa county to 5. Iowa has 145 confirmed cases.
Doctors with the Nebraska Medical Association are asking for donations of medical supplies for clinics and hospitals across the state. N-95 masks, surgical masks, medical grade gloves, scrubs are in short supply. Businesses that may have some of these supplies include tattoo parlors, nail salons, dental clinics and construction companies. If your business wants to donate those items, you should contact the closest hospital or clinic.
The Blair City Council meeting earlier this week was postponed until the end of this month, but now, according to the city administrator, that one has been cancelled as well. Rod Storm, in a media release, says all planning commission, parks board and library board meetings are cancelled until further notice. More details can be found online at BlairNebraska.org.
With many already struggling with seasonal allergies, now the concern about pneumonia brought on by the Covid 19 virus, the open burning of yard waste usually accompanying the Blair Spring Clean up – will not be allowed. City Administrator Rod Storm and Blair Fire Chief Joe Leonard are concerned the smoke from open burning might further complicate health problems for those with respiratory conditions, as well as place an unnecessary strain on the area’s first responders. The rest of the clean up, however, can start tomorrow, citizens are asked to stay in their vehicles, however, while waiting to unload at the city’s public works yard.
No more than ten people at public gatherings, closed dining areas, and no students in school buildings are some of the restrictions in the Directed Health Measure that is in place in Lancaster, Dodge and Saunders Counties until May 6th. Governor Pete Ricketts has added Washington County to that list, also in effect until May 6th. Douglas County is under the restrictions until April 30th according to a media release from the Nebraska Governor’s Office.
Another case of Covid-19 confirmed late yesterday, bringing the number for Washington County to 5. No further details other than the infected person is a woman in her 60's that lives in the county. Yesterday, Three Rivers Public Health confirmed that two of those were a Blair nursing facility. One, a woman in her 90’s is quarantined at the facility, the other, a man in his 70’s was sent to a hospital. Earlier this week, a couple in their 60's that had traveled recently had self-quarantined.
One of the groups that are hardest hit by the Corona Virus are those over the age of 60 with underlying health risks. The last time you voted, did you notice that most of the poll workers were of retirement age? Many poll workers are now asking to be excused from duties for the upcoming May primary. Barb Sullivan at the Washington County Clerk’s office is accepting volunteers to take up those positions. You can call her office at 402-426-6822 or email Ms. Sullivan at clerk@WashingtonCountyNE.org.
Even though the Blair City Council didn’t meet this week, a media release from city officials says city staff continue to work, but with limited contact with the public to help stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus. City Clean up will go forward as scheduled…from Friday March 27th through Saturday, April 11th. Dumpsters will be available at the Blair Public Works Yard at Third and Colfax from 4pm to 6pm Weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 5pm on Weekends. There will be no open burn.
- Reported by Connie Green
For more coverage of the Coronavirus and local community response, including news from Connie Green and guest host interviews with Kelly Johnson, click here.
More information on the Coronavirus can be found on the CDC website.