The COVID-19 Risk Dial of the Panhandle Public Health District has moved into the orange or high range for the first time.
Box Butte became the first county to reach that level last week, but is joined this week by 6 others – Dawes, Sioux, Sheridan, Scottsbluff, Kimball, and Cheyenne.
Still in the moderate category are Banner, Morrill, Garden, Deuel, and Grant Counties.
PPHD also has risk assessments for 7 northern Panhandle towns with Chadron Gordon, Hemingford, and Harrison joining Alliance in the orange or high risk category with Hay Springs and Crawford in yellow or moderate.
Panhandle Unified Command says the region had 1,106 positive cases as of Monday afternoon along with 910 recoveries and 11 deaths. There are 185 active cases, including 17 who are hospitalized.
Dawes County has 175 cases, 144 recoveries, and 31 active cases – it’s highest total yet.
Chadron State College had 3 more students test positive and 1 recovery, giving the school 7 active cases – 4 students and 3 employees – and bring the total case count for the pandemic to 50 students and 10 employees.
The Chadron Public Schools added 3 new cases, 2 at the high school and 1 at the intermediate school, with no breakdown between students and employees. The 3 new cases are the only active ones after 16 recoveries. 4 individuals are quarantined.
PPHD Director Kim Engel says a move into orange doesn’t mean automatic changes for a local school district because those with few or no cases of school transmission have policies in place that are working very well.
Box Butte County is at 142 cases, 1 death, and also 31 active cases. Sheridan County has 76 cases with 17 still active, and all 9 Sioux County cases have recovered.
Unified Command also says that 13.8% or 133 of the coronavirus tests given in the week ending Oct 4th were positive.