OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Dr. Lindsay Huse is Douglas County’s first new health director since 2002 when Adi Pour, who retired Monday, came into the position.
Huse spent her first Friday afternoon on the job in interviews with local media, including 3 News Now.
She spent the last five years at Wyoming’s state health department as the state nursing supervisor. She’s from Gering, a small town in Nebraska’s panhandle.
The new health director is familiar with Omaha. She received her Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2001. In 2019, she received a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Now, she starts a new position in a time where the Douglas County Health Department is very much in the public eye.
"Why not?" Huse. "Yes, we're in the middle of a pandemic. But this is what we train for... Those of us that have made public health a career… have been expecting something like this to happen for many many years."
She and other health officials continue to encourage vaccinations against COVID-19. The Delta variant of the virus accounts for about half of all new cases in Douglas County. That variant is more contagious, she says, and perhaps a little more severe.
Huse said she understands that "everyone is exhausted" over the pandemic.
"All of us want it to be over and I completely understand that," she said. "It is so important that we don't lose sight of the fact that this isn't over."
Huse said the department has no plan yet to go door-to-door to encourage vaccinating against the virus. The Biden administration announced its plan to do so this week.
"Right now we're not really looking at doing that," she said. "We have a number of pop-up clinics that are happening. We have a number of avenues through which the vaccine in being offered. Right now, that seems to be sufficient."
The department will hold pop-up clinics at the locations below this week, most of the new locations.
Huse also said the department has no plans to change anything about it's coronavirus dashboard. The state discontinued its own recently.
"We want to ensure transparency that people have the best data they need to make those safe and healthy decisions," she said. "We're going to keep that dashboard up here in Douglas County for the foreseeable future."
Douglas County just crossed 70% vaccinated over the age of 18, she said.
"A few days over the national goal of having 70% by the 4th of July," she said, "So we're really excited about that."
She says more than an additional five percent vaccinated is realistic before the new year. Ten percent would be "a little ambitious."
She says some who are being cautious about the vaccine might see the absence of adverse effects over time and "trickle in."
"It's gonna be a slow push between now and the end of the year," she said.