By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

PPHD Records More COVID-19 Cases, 40 Positive, 21 Recovered


April 29, 2020


The number of people in western Nebraska confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus is increasing. However, more than half of that number have recovered and are out of isolation.

As of April 22, 40 positive cases of people infected with the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed. The agency also confirmed 21 patients have recovered from the illness.

In the latest report, Cheyenne County has five cases and two recoveries and out of isolation. Scotts Bluff County has the most with 23 cases; nine have recovered and are out of isolation. Kimball County is second in the number of cases at 10. All 10 are reported recovered and out of isolation.

Box Butte and Morrill Counties have one case each of of April 22.

Nebraska is nearing the end of the 21-day Gov. Pete Ricketts' "21 Days to Stay Home and Stay Healthy in Nebraska" directive. On April 9, he proclaimed April 10-30 as the 21-day period in response to the COVID-19. At the time, infectious disease experts anticipated the coronavirus outbreak to be near the peak in Nebraska by the end of April. The Governor's proclamation to avoid non-essential errands and social gatherings was an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. The directive encouraged social distancing at work and to work from home when possible. Children were encouraged to social distance; no group sports or public playgrounds. Since then, an increasing number of shoppers enter stores with cloth masks

On April 23, Gov. Ricketts announced the "Detasseling Safety Task Force," guidelines for farmers' markets, nurseries and garden centers in the state. In the presentation, Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman offered guidelines for agriculture to consumer businesses including keeping the physical distance rules, provide extra space for customers and help direct foot traffic. Farmers' Market vendors are encouraged not to offer food samples, and should have plenty of hand sanitizer available. Customers should wearing masks while shopping, are encouraged to wear masks when shopping and only touch what they intend to purchase.

Ricketts ended the week with an update to the State's response. As of May 4, services will start a trend to normalcy. Elective medical, dental surgeries and procedures will be allowed, if hospitals maintain 30 percent of general bed availability, 30 percent of ICU availability, 30 percent of ventilator availability and maintain a two-week supply of necessary PPEs at their specific facility.

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