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In the past seven days, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department has been notified of 21 people from the district who have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a press release from Myra Stoney, the district’s health director, new cases include the following:

» One Frontier County resident — a male in his 70s, related to community spread.

» One Furnas County resident — a female in her 30s, related to direct contact with another confirmed case of COVID-19.

» Eight Keith County residents — a female in her 20s and a male in his 80s, both related to community spread; a female in her 30s and a male infant, both under investigation; and four others related to direct contact with a case in Perkins County: a female in her 20s, a male in his 20s, a male in his 60s and a female in her 60s.

» Nine Perkins County residents — one male and eight females, all over the age of 80 and related to direct contact.

» Two Red Willow County residents — a male in his 30s related to community spread, and a female in her teens related to travel.

These cases bring the total to 70 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the district. Forty-two of the cases have recovered, and there has been one death.

Forty-three cases have been reported in the two weeks since July 12; before that there were 28 cases reported in 3 months, Stoney said. About half of these recent cases are related to an ongoing outbreak in Perkins County.

Individuals who had direct contact with the positive cases were notified of their exposure and given instructions to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. Direct contact means they were within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more. Anyone who had brief or minimal contact is at low risk and is not required to quarantine. Those people are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms.

Free COVID-19 testing events being held throughout the health district, provided by Mark’s Pharmacy of Cambridge, Community Hospital of McCook and Banner Health of Ogallala Community Hospital. Anyone interested in being tested can fill out the assessment at testnebraska.com or call 402-207-9377 and select a local testing site to make an appointment.

The COVID-19 Community Risk Dial for the week of July 27 is yellow. Residents of southwest Nebraska should use caution when at gatherings or in public, including avoiding high-touch surfaces and wearing a mask. Choose outdoor activities when possible and avoid close contact in enclosed spaces. Those who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 should stay home.

SWNPHD serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins, and Red Willow counties.

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