Corona Press Conference (copy)

Michele Bever, executive director of the South Heartland District Health Department, answers questions March 19 at the City Building during a news conference regarding the first case of COVID-19 in Adams County. At left is Susan Meeske, executive vice president of enrollment and student engagement of Hastings College. 

An 11th Adams County resident has died in connection with the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, pandemic, the South Heartland District Health Department announced on Tuesday night.

“Sadly, we are reporting another coronavirus (COVID-19) related death in Adams County,” said Michele Bever, South Heartland executive director, in a news release Tuesday night. “This was a man in his 60s who was hospitalized with underlying health conditions. We extend our sincere condolences to his family.”

All 11 COVID-19 patients who have died in the South Heartland Health District have been Adams County residents.

The district also includes Clay, Webster and Nuckolls counties.

In addition to the death, South Heartland on Tuesday announced four new laboratory-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the health district.

Three of the new patients live in Adams County. They include a woman in her 40s, a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 60s.

The fourth new patient is a child who lives in Clay County.

Since South Heartland’s first positive case of COVID-19 was announced on March 18, a running total of 282 cases have been confirmed in the four-county district. That tally includes 253 cases in Adams County, 23 cases in Clay County, five cases in Webster County and one case in Nuckolls County.

South Heartland continues to conduct contact investigations for individuals who test positive and live in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls or Webster counties.

According to Bever, the weekly percentage of COVID-19 positive tests in the district as compared to total tests administered has continued to decrease for the South Heartland district.

“The percent positive tests for the week of May 10-16 was 6%, down from 9% the previous week,” she said. “The percent positive tests is one measure that we review to determine spread of the virus in our district.However, less restrictive testing can also impact this value.”

The percentage has been declining week after week since mid-April.

Bever said anyone with any symptoms consistent with coronavirus disease should stay home from work and isolate at home to avoid spreading the illness. COVID-19 symptoms may include a cough, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, runny nose, diarrhea, headache, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, body aches, and new loss of taste and smell.

In many cases, a person will have more than one of these symptoms. In other cases, an infected person will have no symptoms at all.

According to Bever, the health department will continue to emphasize social distancing and prevention, especially for the rest of May, now that directed health measures have been relaxed somewhat to allow certain types of business activity to resume with safety precautions.

“We previously reported community spread of COVID-19 in Adams and Clay counties,” she said. “We are not yet out of danger for increased spread of the virus, so we encourage consumers to be smart by frequenting those retail stores, restaurants and personal service businesses that have good safety measures in place to protect their employees and their patrons from exposure to COVID-19.”

As of Tuesday evening, Nebraska’s statewide total of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests to date is 10,846. The statewide death toll stands at 132.


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