Scotts Bluff County - Health Department

To provide public health services to the community in conjunction with leadership, support, and education that will prevent disease and injury, promote and maintain health, and protect against environmental hazards.

Services Provided:
  • Immunization Clinic for Colid 19 and Flu
  • Home visits
  • Workplace wellness programs
  • Community Health Nursing and Education
  • Blood Pressure Screening / monitoring
  • Communicable disease investigation and control
  • Health education
  • Health complaint investigations
  • Emergency response and planning
  • Disease surveillance

The coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has become the fifth documented pandemic since the 1918 flu pandemic. COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has subsequently spread worldwide. The coronavirus was officially named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus2 (SARS-CoV-2) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses based on phylogenetic analysis.  Because the viruses contagious, it spreads and continuously evolves in the human population.

Vaccines are now available.
Moderna has two (2) doses, 28 days apart
Pfizer is two (2) doses 21 days apart
Johnson & Johnson is one dose.
Contact the Health Department for locationsnear you.   Call 308-436-6636
Also you can go to for more information

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the official name given by the World Health Organization (WHO) to the disease caused bySARS-CoV-2.   COVID-19 surfaced in Wuhan, China in 2019 and spread around the globe. By March 2020, COVID-19 was so widespread that the World Health Organization characterized it as a global pandemic, a disease outbreak that covers a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of people. People who have been infected with COVID-19 respond in different ways—some report mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Others experience severe symptoms, are hospitalized, and even die from the disease. Efforts to mitigate the disease have included “social distancing,” masks, and stay-at-home mandates. By early 2021, scientists had developed effective vaccines, and countries around the globe were focused on quickly vaccinating as many people as possible. Meanwhile approaches to treating the disease are still changing and being modified

Here is a list of terms that are being used to talk about the COVID-19 pandemic—including quarantine and isolation—with information from the Scotts Bluff County Health Department and Regional West Medical Center:

Antibody test: Also called serology test checks to see if you have antibodies in your bloodstream that indicate you had been infected with the virus in the past.

Asymptomatic: Lack of symptoms. It is possible to contract the coronavirus and make antibodies to it even if you stay asymptomatic. It is also possible to spread the virus to others if you're carrying it but have no symptoms.

Cluster: This is a collection of cases occurring in the same place at the same time. In the U.S. in February and March of 2020, early clusters of COVID-19 developed in California, New York, and Washington State.

Community spread:  This term speaks to the circulation of a disease among people in a certain area with no clear explanation of how they were infected—the people did not travel to an affected area and had no close link to another confirmed case. This is sometimes referred to as community transmission. In late February of 2020, a woman in California became the first patient confirmed in the U.S. who could not confirm how she got COVID-19.

Contact Tracing:   This refers to identifying people who have been in direct contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19. Known as “contacts,” these individuals are asked to self-quarantine and watch for COVID-19 symptoms for 14days from the last day were in contact with the person who tested positive for the virus. If the “contact” develops COVID-19 symptoms, they are asked to self-isolate. The new patient’s contacts are then identified, quarantined, and watched for 14 days. Contact tracing is designed to find new cases quickly so people can be quarantined or isolated to combat the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is most contagious during the early phases of illness, before symptoms begin and when symptoms first develop. Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear anytime between two and14 days after exposure. Many people report one or more of the following symptoms over the course of their disease:

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Diagnostic test: A test that checks to see if you are infected. This is usually done via a swab test, which entails taking a sample from the back of your nasal cavity so it can be analyzed in a lab to see if it contains genetic material from the virus. This test may use a saliva sample instead. It’s also called a viral test.

Drive-thru testing: Instead of visiting a doctor's office or other indoor health care facility, patients pull up in their cars to a specific outdoor site where diagnostic and/or antibody tests for COVID-19 are done. Health care providers stand outside and do testing through car windows.

Droplet: A tiny moist particle that is released when you cough or sneeze. You may contract the coronavirus if you’re close to someone who is carrying it and your mouth, nose, or eyes come into contact with droplets they have released.

Emergency use authorization: A ruling put out by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in an emergency, allowing medical professionals to use certain products before they have the agency’s full approval, clearance, or licensing.

Endemic: The baseline or expected level of the disease in the community—meaning it always exists, like the common cold and flu, which are usually at low, predictable rates.

Epidemic: This refers to a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease, above what is typically expected in a particular area. COVID-19 is thought to have reached epidemic proportions in China in mid-January of 2019.

Flattening the Curve: This phrase refers to measures designed to combat the exponential curve that is predicted for COVID-19 without those measures. The World Health Organization (WHO) discussed the phenomenon in a transcript of virtual March11, 2020 press conference.

Hand Hygiene: The Center for Disease Control (CDC)recommends frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20seconds as well as the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to prevent infection with the virus.

Herd immunity: This is when the majority of people in an area are immune to a specific infection, even the members of the population (herd) are protected simply by being around them. Anywhere from 50% to 90% of the population would have to have antibodies to COVID-19 in order for herd immunity to kick in.

Hydroxychloroquine: This is a medication used to treat or prevent malaria. The FDA originally granted emergency use to treat patients with COVID-19 based on very limited data showing that it has activity against SARS-CoV-2. But the ruling was later removed because studies didn’t show that the drugs worked against COVID-19 or that its benefits outweigh the risks.

Incubation period: The time from when you're exposed to an infectious disease to when you get symptoms. The incubation period for COVID-19 is usually4-5 days but may last as long as 14 days.

Infusion: A procedure that puts a medicine, blood, or fluid directly into your veins through an IV or catheter over a period of time.

N95 respirator: Unlike a surgical or cloth mask, N95 respirators (sometimes called N95 masks) are designed to prevent the wearer from breathing in tiny particles. When fit properly, they filter out at least 95% of large and small particles.

Outbreak: This shares the same definition as epidemic, with one exception—an outbreak usually refers to a more limited geographic area. COVID-19 started as an outbreak in Wuhan, the capital city of the Hubei province in China at the end of December2019, when the Chinese government confirmed that it was treating dozens of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause.

Pandemic: A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, impacting many people. Pandemics typically happen when a new virus spreads easily among people who—because the virus is new to them—have little or no pre-existing immunity to it. COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in early March, is the first pandemic known to be caused by the emergence of a new coronavirus.

Personal protective equipment (PPE): Includes N95 respirators as well as gowns and gloves designed to protect health care workers from infectious diseases like COVID-19 while in close contact with patients.

Pre-symptomatic: If you’re pre-symptomatic, you have contracted the virus and may soon feel symptoms, but at the moment, you don't have any. It may be possible to spread COVID-19 to others during this phase.

Quarantine: The practice of staying home and away from others for 14days after you've been exposed to COVID-19 to see if you get symptoms and avoid spreading the virus if you are in fact carrying it.

Self-Isolation: Self-Isolation is stricter than quarantine, self-isolation refers to staying in a contained area-- perhaps a single room in your home if you don't live alone -- because you have COVID-19 and are trying to avoid infecting others.

Self-Observation, Self-Monitoring: The CDC suggests people remain alert to possible symptoms, take their temperatures, seek advice during self-observation periods and be prepared to engage in several types of self-monitoring, with and without delegated supervision.

Self-Quarantine: Self-quarantining is designed to restrict the movement of healthy people who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The CDC suggests staying at home for 14 days from the exposure.

Self-Treatment: If you get sick with COVID-19 and are not a high-risk patient or have emergency warning symptoms, here is how the CDC suggests you care for yourself.

Serology test: Also called an antibody test, this checks to see if you have antibodies in your bloodstream that indicate you had been infected with the virus in the past.

Social Distancing: Social distancing is maintaining a distance of approximately 6 feet from others to stop or slow the spread ofCOVID-19.

Spread of a disease: When disease—and the virus that causes it—begins to spread, epidemiologists (who are considered the basic scientists of public health) take notice, looking for the frequency, patterns, and causes associated with it. Here are definitions of a few of those epidemiological terms that you may hear or see reported in the news, especially as they relate to COVID-19.

State of emergency: This is a written declaration made by the governor of a state because a disaster is occurring or about to occur. This action allows the governor to quickly direct funds to protect the public during a crisis.

Swab test: Swab test is a type of diagnostic test that involves taking sample from the back of your nasal cavity so it can be analyzed in a lab to see if it contains the virus. Sometimes it is also called a viral test.

Variant: This means a change or alteration in the original virus / disease. In the case of the coronavirus, a variant is a mutation in which the original virus has taken on new characteristics.

Ventilator: This is a machine used to pump air into your lungs if they aren't working properly on their own. Someone who requires a ventilator will need to have a tube put into their windpipe (a process called intubation) so the ventilator can be connected to it.

Who is at risk for COVID-19 and complications from the disease?  Anyone who may have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 is at risk for COVID-19. Experts are still learning about how to predict who will develop severe symptoms that could lead to hospitalization, time in an intensive care unit, or use of a ventilator to help with breathing.

The risk for complications increases with age—people in their 50s are at higher risk for complications than those in their 40s, people in their 60s have more risk than those in their 50s, and people who are 85 and older are at the highest risk, according to the CDC, which reports that 8 out of 10 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in people aged 65 and older.
People of all ages with medical conditions are at higher risk for complications, as are people who smoke, including e-cigarettes and vaping. The list of conditions includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Cancer

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Chronic lung diseases including COPD, moderate and severe asthma, and cystic fibrosis

  • Diabetes

  • Heart conditions

  • HIV infection

  • Liver disease

  • Obesity and being overweight

  • Pregnancy

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Solid organ transplant

  • Substance use disorders

Air Quality

In America people live in areas where air pollution causes serious health issues.  Local air quality can affect our daily lives.  Like the weather, the quality of the air can change from day to day.  The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, developed the Air Quality Index to make information available about health effects of the most common air pollutants, and how to avoid and/or reduce those effects. Pollen, smoke and other pollutants are monitored across America on a daily basis.

Scottsbluff Air Quality report

Nebraska Birth data

To do many activities in the United States and abroad you need an original copy of your birth certificate. Obtaining the original birth certificate is something that is rather difficult to do. But obtaining a copy of the original birth certificate is rather easy.
A birth record refers to the certificate issued upon the birth of every child in Nebraska, or a certified copy of this certificate. Some city health departments in Nebraska were responsible for some of the state’s earliest birth records. The city of Omaha has records dating back to 1869.
State of Nebraska Vital Records only has information about events that took place in Nebraska. Only records that are 50 years old or older may be requested for family history as stated in the Rules and Regulations Chapter 3 para 3-004.06 Genealogical Use. Birth and death records start in1904. Marriage and divorce records start in 1909. Our office has request forms which can be mailed to Lincoln. You may also contact the regional office (308-436-6951) or HHS vital statistics via the internet (   This web site will access information on all departments and services.


In addition to counting people, the census is used as a tool to measure the effectiveness of past Federal and State policies. Aside from state and local government use, businesses can also use census data to assess markets and consumer demand to make decisions involving investments and new product development.
Center for Disease Control reports that the #1 cause of death in Nebraska is Cancer, followed by heart Disease, Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, Strokes and Car Crashes. During 2020 there were 246 deaths per 100,000 people recorded due to COVID-19

Fire safety is the set of practices intended to reduce the destruction caused by fire. Fire safety measures include those that are intended to prevent ignition of an uncontrolled fire, and those that are used to limit the development and effects of a fire after it starts.
Good fire safety practice that you should follow includes. Keeping your workplace uncluttered and having a good standard of housekeeping. Ona regular schedule, remove combustible waste, including accumulations of dust. Keep ignition sources away from combustible materials or flammable liquids and gases.

Fire Safety at Home
Keep the stove and oven clear. Kitchens are the most common places for housefires. To prevent kitchen fires, don’t leave anything flammable near the stove or oven. Make sure curtains don’t hang over the stove, and never rest towels or a cookbook on the stove top.
Faulty appliances/wiring cause the greatest number of house fires. Heating devices such as heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces, are another leading cause. Most often the fires start when something like furniture, boxes, or clothing placed too near the heat source overheats and ignites.

Smoke Detectors
Contact your local Fire Department for specific rules regarding smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitor laws for your home, business.
Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home to detect rising smoke from a fire. They should be placed inside or directly outside of each bedroom and common areas, and in laundry rooms and kitchens where fires can originate.
How often does a smoke detector need be replaced?  Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years from the date of manufacturing (the date should be indicated on the device). Dust and debris can settle inside the device and the sensors may not work as well after the 10-year period.

Contact Information


Administration Building - 2nd Floor
1825 10th Street
Gering, NE 69341

Office Hours

Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closed through the lunch hour
Closed Weekends and Holidays


308 436-6636 - Main
308 436-6638 - Fax

Paulette Schnell - Director

Community Health Nurses
308 630-1126
308 630-1821

Immunization Clinic

Sponsored by Scotts Bluff County Health Department

View the Immunization Clinic Schedule

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a copy of a birth or death certificate?
Our office has request forms which can be mailed to Lincoln. You may also contact the regional office (308-436-6951) or HHS vital statistics via the internet (   This web site will access information on all departments and services.

Who do I contact regarding a food complaint or for a restaurant inspection or license?
Contact the Department of Agriculture AT 402 471-2536

How do I get an appointment at the Immunization Clinic?
Contact Info is available on the Immunization Clinic Schedule

How can I get a radon kit?
Our office has request forms or Free radon test kits are available to Panhandle residents by emailing , call PPHD at 308.487.3600 ext 108 or toll free 866.701.7173 ext 108 or online at

How do I get my water tested?
Contact Environmental Services at 818 So. Belt line, Scottsbluff, at 308 632-3933.
Application For Evaluation Of Individual Water Supply And Sewage Treatment System

What do I have to do to get my well inspected?
Our office has forms for domestic sewer and water system evaluations. The completed form can be returned and an appointment scheduled for the inspection. The fee is $80.

Who do I contact for environmental health concerns and inspections outside Scotts Bluff County?
Contact Nebraska State HHS Regional office in Gering at 308 436-6948.

Additional Links

Updated: 2022.1.26 - 12:00 MDT