Panhandle Unified Command says the number of new COVID 19 cases in the region nearly doubled in the past week, jumping from 291 to 562 on Wednesday with a positivity rate of 16.6%.
131 of the new cases were younger than 20 and well over half – 326 – were in Scottsbluff County. There were 82 in Box Butte, 22 in Dawes, and 12 in Sheridan.
Currently, 19 Panhandle residents are hospitalized with COVID, up from 13 last week – a 46% increase
18 more deaths were reported, none below the age of 40 and 14 among those over the age of 60. The region has had 270 COVID deaths during the pandemic with 20 others awaiting verification of COVID.
Statewide, the number of cases in Nebraska has surpassed the beak for last year with the CDC’s most recent 7-day rolling average of new cases per day topping 3,300. Monday had the highest one-day total of the pandemic at 7,557.
The state dashboard on Tuesday showed 645 Nebraskans were hospitalized with COVID. Many of the hospitals are stretched thin from the combination of the surge in cases and the large number of health care workers who are out sick.