State's Second Community-Spread Case Confirmed In Douglas County

(Bill Kelly, NET News)
March 18, 2020 - 5:57pm

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Public health officials in Omaha have confirmed a second COVID-19 case whose origins can’t be traced, as Nebraska officials scrambled to increase the number of tests they can conduct each day.

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In addition to the 46-year-old man infected through community spread, Douglas County health officials said three other travel-related cases have been confirmed. The department’s director, Dr. Adi Pour, said those cases included a woman in her 60s, a man in his 60s and another man in his 40s. The three had visited other regions, including New York City, Denver and Europe.

Roughly 500 people have been tested so far for the coronavirus, Gov. Pete Ricketts said at a news conference at the Capitol. The state now has 28 confirmed cases — 23 of them in the Omaha area.

Ricketts said he expects more tests will be available soon, and officials at the state’s public health lab have figured out a way to test as many as 400 people per day, up from the current 100.

For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

A doctor at Bellevue Medical Center has tested positive, Nebraska Medicine spokesman Taylor Wilson said. Hospital employees and nine patients who had contact with the doctor have been notified, and the doctor, who is experiencing mild symptoms, is in isolation at home, Wilson said.

In the U.S., the death toll from the virus has far surpassed 100, and officials have urged older Americans and those with health problems to stay home.

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