NC Rotary hears update on COVID-19

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

The Nebraska City Rotary Club heard an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s flower basket and bumpout programs during its Sept. 29 meeting.

Dr. Dan DeFreece, president of CHI Health St. Mary’s, said that 99 percent of all COVID-19 patients that the hospital and clinic staff are seeing currently have the Delta variant of the virus, which causes a longer, more contagious illness than the virus variants seen previously.

DeFreece said that the staff is seeing more significant illness in those people who have not been vaccinated, adding that 80 percent of the COVID-19 patients hospitalized at CHI Health facilities in Nebraska and 98 percent of the COVID-related deaths in CHI Health facilities in the state have been unvaccinated for the virus.

Regarding vaccination boosters, DeFreece said that people ages 65 and older who received the Pfizer vaccination may benefit from a booster, but that most of the vaccine administered in Nebraska City was from Moderna, which has not provided information on booster recommendations as yet.

DeFreece the staff has done “a magnificent job” as the pandemic continues, but that their morale has been affected by nursing staffing shortages and public opinion regarding vaccinations.

“Last year, they were treated as heroes,” he said, “but this year they feel like they’re the goats.”

DeFreece encouraged his audience to continue to thank health care workers.

Marty Stovall, construction and facility manager for the City of Nebraska City, gave club members a brief history of the downtown bumpouts, which have been tended by a variety of gardeners over the years.

Currently, the city has contracted with Doug Grimm of Grimm’s Gardens to give the bumpouts a unified look. Stovall said that the spring planting project got a later-than-planned start in 2021, but the 2022 plan calls for an earlier start and perhaps more color variety in the plants chosen next year.

Stovall said the downtown business owners believe the refreshed bumpouts and the annual flower basket program make a positive difference in the look of the downtown area for visitors and residents.

He added that both programs are set to expire in four years and that they may be combined going forward.

The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesday at Valentino’s, 1710 S. 11th. Guests pay $9 for lunch.

The speaker for tomorrow (Oct. 6) is scheduled to be Stacie Higgins, who will discuss the first five years of the EDGE Nebraska City program, poverty trends in Nebraska City and Otoe County, and how literacy is helping address those trends.

Cole Sharp is the club president. Call (402) 873-0530 for more information.

Dr. Dan DeFreece, president of CHI Health St. Mary’s, provided the Nebraska City Rotary Club with a brief COVID-19 update Sept. 29.
Marty Stovall, construction and facility manager for the City of Nebraska City, gave Nebraska City Rotary Club members a brief history of the downtown bumpouts, which have been tended by a variety of gardeners over the years.