DHHS: Community transmission identified in Gage County; First case reported in Cherry County

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LINCOLN, Neb. - Community transmission of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) was identified in Gage County. Community transmission is when people have COVID-19 but public health officials are unable to identify how or where they became infected - http://phsneb.org/latest-dhhs-news-releases/.

State Directed Health Measures (DHMs) were issued tonight for the remaining counties in Nebraska. DHMs now cover all 93 counties in the state until May 11 - https://www.dropbox.com/s/tau4u6180lu0kna/DHM%204.3.2020.pdf?dl=0.

The quarantine measures included in the State DHMs are for individuals who are COVID-19 positive or develop fever, sudden onset of a dry cough, or sudden onset of shortness of breath or reside with or have resided with individuals who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or have the above symptoms. The quarantine requirement excludes those people with seasonal allergies, COPD or other diagnoses that may produce respiratory symptoms. The directive also doesn’t apply to patients who have an alternative non-COVID-19 diagnosis from a healthcare provider. These patients should follow the treatment and guidance provided by their healthcare provider for such conditions.

Cherry County also reported its first case of COVID-19 today.

Tonight’s state case total is 285. DHHS launched a new data dashboard that provides daily updates to the state’s COVID-19 case totals. You can find it at http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus.

Certain people are at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. People in these higher-risk groups should:

-Stock up on supplies, including extra necessary medications.

-Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.

-Avoid crowds as much as possible.

-Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

-If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Recent data shows that the virus is also affecting younger people. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said 20% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 in the U.S. were 20-44 years old.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. People who are concerned they may have COVID-19 should self-isolate and call ahead to their primary care provider to be screened over the phone.

Everyone can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by:

-Avoiding close contact with sick people and staying home if you are sick.

-Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

-Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

-Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.

-Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Here’s where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

DHHS opened a statewide COVID-19 information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is (402) 552-6645; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CST, 7 days a week.

DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC’s website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.