The running tally of positive COVID-19 cases in the South Heartland Health District grew by 14 Friday through Monday, the district health department reported Monday evening.
Statistics on the health district’s Data Dashboard indicate 11 new cases were recorded in Adams County while Clay County saw three new cases. Webster and Nuckolls counties both saw no new cases in the four-day time period.
Since March 18, when Adams County recorded its first positive case of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, a total of 425 residents of the four-county district have been confirmed positive for the viral infection. That includes 352 residents of Adams County, 55 from Clay County, 11 from Webster County and seven from Nuckolls County.
In a news release Monday night, South Heartland reported the new Adams County cases confirmed over the most recent four-day span included seven males and four females, and the Clay County patients are one man and two women.
By age, the new patients include six in the 20s, two in the 30s, one in the 40s, two in the 50s, and three in the 60s.
In one piece of favorable news, the health department reported that the districtwide positivity rate for the week of July 26 to Aug. 1 was 4.5%, down from 5.1% the previous week.
The positivity rate is the number of newly confirmed cases as a percentage of the total number of tests administered in the district.
Last week was the second consecutive week the positivity rate has dropped in the district after it spiked from 3.9% to 7.5% two weeks ago.
Positivity by county was 5.6% in Adams County, 4.4% in Clay County, and zero in Webster and Nuckolls counties.
“There were 420 COVID-19 tests conducted in our district last week, down from 534 the previous week,” said Michele Bever, health department executive director. “Overall, 11.8% of our population has been tested.”
One South Heartland resident was hospitalized on Thursday for treatment of COVID-19 — the second new hospitalization in as many days. Those two cases bring to 24 the total number of district residents who have spent time in a hospital to date in connection with the disease.
A total of 11 district residents — all from Adams County — have died in connection with COVID-19. As of Monday night, a total of 383 have been classified as “recovered.”
In the educational portion of Monday night’s news release, Bever explained that isolation and quarantine help reduce the spread of COVID-19 from person to person.
“Isolation and quarantine are health measures to reduce the spread of a disease, in this case COVID-19,” she said. “People who have COVID-19 symptoms and people who test positive for COVID-19 are instructed to isolate. Isolation keeps an infected person away from healthy people in order to stop the spread of the virus. Quarantine is for people who are not sick, but who might get sick because they have been around someone who has coronavirus.”
On Friday, it was announced that directed health measures enacted by the state of Nebraska effective June 22 to help thwart the spread of the illness in South Heartland will remain in place throughout August.
“The directed health measures have legal ramifications if they are not followed,” Bever said, “but most people are compliant and understand that quarantine and isolation are in place to help protect their family, friends, co-workers as well as others in our communities who may be more vulnerable. Let’s encourage each other to stay home, isolated or quarantined, when directed, and to practice prevention everywhere.”
Key prevention actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include: staying at home when experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, even if the symptoms are mild; keeping 6 feet of distance from others; wearing a face covering as a barrier to keep one’s germs from spreading to others, especially in situations where physical distancing is impossible; washing hands frequently with soap and water; and cleaning and disinfecting any frequently touched surfaces.
South Heartland District case counts and trends can be found on SHDHD’s dashboard of local COVID-19 case statistics.
This dashboard, along with updates, guidance, news releases and other COVID-19 information and links can be found on the SHDHD website: www.southheartlandhealth.org.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on its Data Dashboard at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.
In the Two Rivers Public Health District, which includes seven counties to the west of the Hastings area, a total of 26 new COVID-19 cases were recorded Friday and Saturday, including four in Kearney County.