Weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak, local health departments were working to improve the health of people living in districts across Nebraska. The pandemic made their mission more essential than ever.
The new television documentary “The COVID Chronicles” takes you behind the scenes with public health professionals in two districts, bringing you into the room as they investigate hotspots for the virus, provide testing and coordinate with first responders and overcrowded hospitals.
“The COVID Chronicles” premieres at 9 p.m. CT, Monday, Aug. 9 on Nebraska Public Media.
The 12-person staff at Three Rivers Public Health District, serving Dodge, Saunders and Washington counties, was pulled into the pandemic in its earliest days. In early March 2020, suspected exposures at a Special Olympics of Nebraska event in Fremont, Neb., required a massive and urgent response from the district. Within days, it also confronted the state’s first outbreak in a nursing home and a county jail.
Hastings-based South Heartland District Health Department serves a region where infections, driven by outbreaks at the area’s meatpacking plants, exploded in a matter of weeks. “The COVID Chronicles” explores how the district responded with testing events, distributing scarce supplies and combatting misinformation in diverse communities.
To understand the tremendous impact COVID-19 has on Nebraska communities, the documentary follows along on emergency medical calls with the Grand Island Fire Department and goes inside intensive care units at hospitals in Hastings and North Platte, Neb.
“The COVID Chronicles” also explores how public health districts assisted school districts with plans to safely resume classes; advocated for local mask regulations; and by year’s end, were part of the effort to get Nebraskans access to available vaccines.
For more information about “The COVID Chronicles,” visit NebraskaPublicMedia.org/covidchronicles.