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South Heartland District Health Department

Three new laboratory-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, have pushed to an even 300 the running tally of positive cases recorded for South Heartland Health District residents since March 18.

All three new cases reported Thursday by South Heartland were in Adams County — one woman in her 20s and two women in their 30s. To date, Adams County has recorded 270 positive cases, compared to 24 in Clay County, five in Webster County and one in Nuckolls County.

Of that total number, 228 had recovered districtwide as of Thursday. This includes 76% of all Adams County cases, 75% of Clay County cases, and 100% of the cases recorded in Webster and Nuckolls counties.

Eleven patients — all Adams County residents — have died.

“We continue to conduct contact investigations for individuals who test positive and live in Adams, Clay, Nuckolls or Webster counties,” said Michele Bever, South Heartland executive director, in a news release Thursday night. “Anyone who has symptoms should self-isolate.”

COVID-19 symptoms can include cough, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, runny nose, diarrhea, headache, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, chills, body aches, and new loss of taste or smell.

“In many cases, a person will have more than one of these symptoms and in some cases people may have no symptoms at all,” Bever said. “But even asymptomatic people can spread the virus to others, which is why it is important to practice physical/social distancing and wear masks to reduce the spread, especially to those who are at higher risk.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 397 individuals had specimens collected in Hastings and Clay Center for COVID-19 testing through the TestNebraska initiative. Officials are hoping to see all the results back within two or three days.

“So far, we calculate a positive test rate of 1.6%, with about 45% of the test results back from TestNebraska,” Bever said.

About 3,000 South Heartland residents have taken the TestNebraska COVID-19 risk assessment since it went live in April on testnebraska.com.

“The assessment helps people know if they are at risk and whether they qualify for free testing at a TestNebraska site. These assessments also help public health officials know where there is a need for more testing,” Bever said. “We encourage people to take this short survey.”

In the neighboring Two Rivers Public Health District, which includes seven counties west of the Hastings area, just two new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Thursday. Both patients are Buffalo County residents.

In the Central Health District, which includes Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties, the current running case tally stands at 1,568, with 53 deaths.

Statewide, a total of 13,261 people had been confirmed positive for COVID-19 to date as of Thursday evening, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported. The state death toll stood at 164.

South Heartland District case counts by county are updated daily on the health department’s COVID-19 webpage: https://southheartlandhealth.org/public-health-data/corona-virus.html. The state provides daily updates to Nebraska’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases on their Data Dashboard at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.

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