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South Heartland District Health Department

Eighteen new cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, were recorded in the four-county South Heartland Health District for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the district health department announced.

The new laboratory-confirmed cases include 16 in Adams County, one in Clay County and one in Nuckolls County. Webster County recorded no new cases for the four-day period.

The running tallies of cases confirmed among health district residents since March 18 now stand at 422 in Adams County, 63 in Clay County, 14 in Webster County and nine in Nuckolls County, for a districtwide total of 508.

South Heartland had recorded a total of eight new cases for Aug. 25-27. Therefore, the district’s case tally for the last seven days was 26.

The latest numbers were reported in the health department’s Monday night news release. In a related matter, Michele Bever, the agency’s executive director, reminded residents that the existing COVID-19 directed health measures issued by the state of Nebraska for the health district are being renewed as they are effective today, Sept. 1, and will remain the same through Sept. 13.

Effective Sept. 14, 66 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, including all the Nebraska counties in Tribland, will move for Phase 3 to Phase 4 of reopening, barring a dramatic change in public health conditions between now and then. Phase 4 will bring a relaxation of the measures in several respects.

The current directed health measures provide requirements and guidelines for holding safe gatherings and reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus, Bever said.

She encourages event planners to contact the health department for assistance.

“Our staff are willing to provide guidance with planning gatherings and events so that they comply with the DHM,” she said. “According to the DHM, events in venues that have capacity of 500 or more are required to submit plans for approval by the appropriate local health department. We work with people to put measures in place that will reduce the potential for the virus to spread.”

District residents can continue to help thwart the overall risk for spread of COVID-19 by reducing opportunities for the virus to spread from person to person, Bever said.

“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.

“The goal is to keep the number of new infections low and to keep our students and teachers at school. Until we have a vaccine available, these practices are our best defense against the virus that causes COVID-19.”

In other virus-related news, the Two Rivers Public Health Department, which serves seven counties to the west of the Hastings area, reported five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kearney County, one new case in Franklin County and one new case in Harlan County for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Other counties in the Two Rivers district and their three-day case totals include Buffalo (43), Dawson (seven), Phelps (seven) and Gosper (zero).

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