The South Heartland Health District’s running tally of positive cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, increased by a total of 17 Tuesday through Thursday.
The newly confirmed cases were reported by the health department in a news release Thursday night. The health district encompasses Adams, Webster, Clay and Nuckolls counties.
The additional cases include 15 among Adams County residents and one apiece for Clay and Webster counties.
The additional cases bring to 590 the total reported among health district residents since the first case was announced on March 18. By county, the running totals are 491 in Adams, 70 in Clay, 17 in Webster and 12 in Nuckolls.
Of the 590 total cases, 479 are classified as recovered. Twenty-nine of the patients have spent time in a hospital, and 12 have died.
The health department announced Wednesday that the risk dial needle assessing the likelihood of additional virus spread in the health district this week stands at 2.0, right on the line between moderate and elevated risk. The risk reading was 2.0 for last week, as well.
The health department generally announces new confirmed cases twice each week, on Monday and Thursday nights.
In Thursday’s news release, Michele Bever, South Heartland executive director, reiterated some of the measures district residents can take to reduce the risk the coronavirus poses to themselves, their families and their communities.
The key, Bever said, is reducing opportunities for the virus to spread from person to person in any situation.
“This means keeping physically distanced from others, wearing cloth face coverings when we are around others, staying home when we have any symptoms, washing our hands, and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces,” she said.
In the neighboring Two Rivers Public Health District, which encompasses seven counties to the west of the Hastings area, five new cases were confirmed among Kearney County residents and four were reported among Harlan County residents on Wednesday.
To date, 129 cases have been recorded in Kearney County, compared to 18 in Franklin, 12 in Harlan, 97 in Phelps, 31 in Gosper, 888 in Buffalo and 1,050 in Dawson.
Nebraska’s running statewide total of positive cases stood at 39,921 as of Thursday. The statewide death toll stood at 442.