Increasing COVID cases put Chase County in top 10 per capita on national scene

First death recorded in Chase County

    Early this week, Chase County not only had the most new COVID-19 cases per capita in Nebraska, but it also moved to No. 10 nationally.
    Those figures from the Oct. 6-12 week were released by the New York Times, which is tracking every county and state in the nation as it covers the U.S. coronavirus battle.
    The numbers here, which included Chase County’s first death related to COVID-19, are forcing a return to office closures, cancelled activities and more visible mask-wearing.
    Fifty-four new COVID cases were reported in Chase County Monday by the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, which is 36% of all new cases in the district (146).
    Chase County had the most new cases in the health district for the week, with Red Willow County second at 45.
    Health Director Myra Stoney said the district has seen a spike in cases since the first of October, with outbreaks in Chase and Red Willow counties causing the majority of them.
    “For several months southwest Nebraska was protected from the COVID-19 pandemic but it is here now. It will take a group effort to slow down the amount of spread we are seeing and to support our hospitals and healthcare providers while we get through this wave of cases,” she said.
    “While most of the cases are from direct contact with a known case, there is also community spread occurring across the health district,” she added.
    Here is the breakdown of new cases in the other SWNPHD counties for the past week: Dundy, 3; Frontier, 4; Furnas, 11; Hayes, 2; Hitchcock, 13; Keith, 6; and Perkins, 8.
    Numbers the past week bring the totals for the health district to 435 cases with 238 cases recovered, Stoney said.
    Although Nebraska had a 44% increase in new cases over the previous 14 days, the state’s death rate is down 13%.
First death recorded
    One of the two residents from Imperial Parkview-Heights to contract COVID has passed away.
    The other resident has been released from the hospital and returned to Parkview-Heights,  according to Margie Haider, director of nursing for the senior care facilities which also includes Imperial Manor.
    She indicated four more staff members have tested positive for COVID in their latest round of testing. One works in Parkview-Heights with the other three working in the Manor.
    She said they continue to test staff members and were completing weekly testing of all residents on Wednesday.
    Thus far, two Manor residents have tested positive.
    She said the forms of testing for residents has shown to be very accurate.
    They have two methods of testing that both require nasal swabbing.
    The first is a Sophia testing machine that can process a test in 15 minutes.
    The second is an Abbott Labs card that also provides test results in 15 minutes but without any instrumentation.
    Haider said they are using these for residents because the necessary swabbing for this test causes less discomfort.
    The Abbot tests were provided to the facility through the federal government.
    She said it takes six to eight hours to process all of the swabs during a round of testing, whether it’s residents or staff.


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