PPHD confirms over 150 COVID-19 cases in past week

Health officials in the panhandle are monitoring a rise in COVID-19 cases in the region. 

Monday, Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD) announced 152 cases of COVID-19 in the panhandle from August 16-23. It's the second week in a row the panhandle has seen over 100 new cases. 

Of the new cases, 79 were in Scotts Bluff County while the rest of the region accounted for 73. Twelve panhandle residents are currently hospitalized with the virus. 

The higher number of new cases continues a trend of rising case numbers week-over-week. This is the fourth consecutive week PPHD reported a higher number of new COVID-19 cases than the week prior. 

Health officials continue to stress people get the COVID-19 vaccine. It is available at at least one location in every county in the panhandle. According to state health department data, about 33.7 percent of panhandle residents are fully vaccinated, up from 33.2 percent last week. That is the second-lowest vaccination rate amongst all of Nebraska's public health districts. 

Monday, the Pfizer vaccine received full approval from the FDA. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccine are still being administered under an emergency use authorization from FDA.