Horizon Public Health has noted a consistent and significant trend downward in the number of active cases of COVID-19 for the past three weeks across the Horizon communities. We have also noted this same trend downward in the number of hospital admissions from January to February, as well as improved hospital capacity to get patients admitted locally or transferred to an appropriate level of care…a situation that looked more bleak even one month ago. These trends are consistent with what we are seeing across the state and nation. Recommendations have been changing throughout the pandemic as more is learned and as we acquire better treatment, higher vaccination rates and population immunity from COVID-19.On Friday, February 25, the CDC unveiled a new tool which will help communities and individuals, understand the current impact of COVID-19 on their community and make decisions about what personal actions to take. A national map with risk levels that is updated weekly can be found on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html. Each county risk level is calculated relying less on individual case counts, but more on severe disease impacting our hospitals and health care capacity. The CDC has provided updated recommendations for prevention steps for the three levels of community transmission:
As of March 4, county transmission rates are as follows: Douglas- Low Transmission Grant- Low Transmission Pope- Low Transmission Stevens- Low Transmission Traverse- Low Transmission. The CDC has also published a list of conditions that have been demonstrated to be correlated with an increased risk for a severe COVID-19 outcome. Individuals at Higher Risk for severe outcomes include, but are not limited to: Cancer Cerebrovascular disease Chronic Kidney Disease Chronic Lung diseases (interstitial lung disease, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension, bronchiectasis and COPD) Chronic Liver Diseases (cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis) Cystic Fibrosis Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 and 2 Disabilities (including but not limited to: ADHD, cerebral palsy, congenital malformations/birth defects, limitations with self-care or activities of daily living, intellectual and developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, spinal cord injuries), Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies), HIV, Mental health disorders (mood disorders including depression; schizophrenia spectrum), Neurologic conditions limited to dementia, Obesity (BMI > 30), Primary immunodeficiencies, Pregnancy and recent pregnancy, Physical inactivity, Smoking, current and former, Solid organ or hematopoietic cell transplantation, Tuberculosis, Use of corticosteroid, or other immunosuppressing medications.
With these changes in guidance for the general public, it is important to acknowledge that there are many people who are at higher risk for severe illness with challenging decisions to face navigating a world with COVID-19 in it. If you are at high risk for severe disease, or if you do not know if you are considered high risk, we recommend you talk to your healthcare provider about whether to wear a mask and what other precautions you should take. Horizon Public Health continues to update the COVID-19 Statistics Dashboard weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This information can be found on the Horizon Public Health’s website at www.horizonpublichealth.org.
If you have additional questions or need assistance, you can call the Horizon Public Health COVID-19 helpline at 800-450-4177 option 3, or visit our website at www.horizonpublichealth.org.