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South Heartland adds ten more COVID-19 cases, pushing district over 100

Staying at home may keep you safe from the coronavirus, but for some it puts them directly in harm's way.
Staying at home may keep you safe from the coronavirus, but for some it puts them directly in harm's way.
Published: Apr. 20, 2020 at 5:45 AM CDT
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Ten more lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported over the weekend by the South Heartland District Health Department.

This brings the total number of cases in the 4-county health district to one-hundred five (105), including ninety-eight (98) in Adams County, five (5) in Clay County, two (2) in Webster County, and zero (0) in Nuckolls County.

Eight new cases in Adams County:

- 2 females (one in her 30s, 1 in her 70s)

- 7 males (one in his 20s, one in his 40s, one in his 50s, 4 in their 60s)

One new case in Clay County:

- 1 female in her 50s

The test results received in each of the last four days have included results for individuals tested at the National Guard testing event on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14-15. This testing event was a resource shared with SHDHD through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This limited testing event focused on healthcare workers, first responders, and critical infrastructure personnel (such as utilities and food industry) who were showing symptoms or who might have been exposed to COVID-19.

Of the ninety-eight (98) people tested by the National Guard, 75 tested negative and 23 had positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 test results. Some of the individuals work in South Heartland counties (Adams, Clay, Nuckolls Webster) but live outside of the health district. If these individuals tested positive, the case numbers are included in their county of residence, not in the county where they work. As a reminder, persons that test negative on a given day are not protected from COVID-19 exposure the following days, so continued practice of social distancing and prevention is necessary.

The National Guard tested approximately 30 employees of Western Reserve meat processing facility in Hastings. To date, a total of 26 Western Reserve employees have tested positive for COVID-19 (these include results from previously reported cases). In addition, four food inspectors have tested positive for COVID-19, but have since recovered.

South Heartland District Health Department is providing recommendations and is continuing to work closely with Western Reserve management in their efforts to implement additional prevention practices at the Hastings facility. This includes additional employee screening, expanded social distancing measures and expanded use of masks at work.

Social distancing along with prevention practices like washing your hands, covering your coughs/sneezes or coughing into your sleeve, staying home when you are sick, and disinfecting those frequently-touched surfaces, are equally important for worksites as for families. Governor Pete Ricketts issued a revised state directed health measure for all Nebraska counties on April 9, 2020 to help assure social distancing and to reduce in-person contact.

Since COVID-19 doesn’t always have symptoms and because we have community spread, it is especially important to practice prevention and social distancing everywhere we go. This is another important reason we are recommending people wear masks at work or in public places where it is difficult to socially distance from others.

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