Nineteen new laboratory-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, were recorded Tuesday through Thursday in the South Heartland Health District.

The new cases were reported through the district health department’s online Data Dashboard. The health department, which is headquartered in Hastings, serves Adams, Webster, Clay and Nuckolls counties.

The new cases bring to 546 the total number among district residents reported since March 18. The breakdown by county includes 449 cases in Adams County, 69 in Clay, 16 in Webster and 12 in Nuckolls.

To date, 479 of the 546 cases have been classified as being recovered. Twenty-eight of the patients have spent time in a hospital in connection with their diagnoses, and 11 individuals — all Adams County residents — have died.

Fifteen of the new cases recorded since Tuesday are Adams County residents. Clay County has two new cases, and Webster and Nuckolls counties each have one new case.

Despite a continuing upward trend in the weekly number of new cases and in test positivity rates, the South Heartland district and much of the rest of Nebraska will move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 of COVID-19 “reopening” effective Monday.

The new state directed health measure for South Heartland will be in effect through Oct. 31.

In a Thursday night news release, Michele Bever, South Heartland health department executive director, urged continuing caution among district residents to help thwart the spread of the viral disease.

“As we enter Phase 4, it is important to continue prevention practices,” Bever said. “Residents can help decrease the overall risk for spread of COVID-19 in their communities by reducing opportunities for the virus to spread from person to person. 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.

“These actions will help keep our students and teachers at school and will help protect those in our communities who are more vulnerable to serious illness.”

For more information or COVID-19 statistics, visit www.southheartlandhealth.org.

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