The year 2020 been a tough one full of sickness, struggles, and unknowns. It’s has taken a big toll on us all; and even though we’re experiencing “pandemic fatigue,” COVID-19 is not through with us.
It’s time to put the health needs of our community first. Box Butte County was the first county in the panhandle of Nebraska to enter the “high risk of COVID-19 spread” on the PPHD Risk Dial. Let’s lead by example and show how we are the Best Hometown in America. As University of Nebraska Medical Center said, “We are entering a dangerous period for our state in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest surge of cases and hospitalizations we have seen is currently upon us… We need to find that spirit of community now more than ever to overcome COVID-19.”
Whatever your stance is on wearing a mask and social distancing, both practices are proven to reduce the spread of the virus and help protect our children, our elderly, and our family and friends from our germs. Whether you agree with it or not, are “essential” or “non-essential,” it’s the best- and virtually only- thing we can do to protect each other right now. (Adaptations or alternatives of masks are urged for those who have trouble breathing, or are under the age of 2.)
With flu season rapidly approaching, it is important for us all to wash our hands, mask up, social distance, and get a flu shot. Doing these things will help ease the strain on hospitals already dealing with COVID-19. In the last week alone, COVID-19 hospitalizations have tripled in the Panhandle, with a majority of those being ages 40 to 79, according to Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD). Doing your part by following guidelines to stay out of the hospital makes a big impact on stopping the spread. The main concern is the increase in hospitalizations across the state. Managing the stress on healthcare facilities is essential.
Per the CDC’s COVID-19 Positivity Tracker, Nebraska’s current positivity rate ranks in the nine highest of all states. Daily cases now are exceeding the number of cases reported early in April and May. “Box Butte County has had 54 new cases since the first of October, with multiple hospitalizations of our own and we are seeing the rate of positive cases increase daily. This worries me for our community, for the staff of our hospital, and as a mother,” said Lori Mazanec, Box Butte General Hospital CEO. “Please join me in making a commitment to consistently wear masks and to social distance.”
BBGH is still restricting visitors, continually and thoroughly cleaning, wearing masks and other personal protective equipment, and remaining compassionate. We’re doing everything we can to keep our community safe. Stand with us.