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Connecting safely during the Thanksgiving Holiday

Connecting safely during the Thanksgiving Holiday

Eighteen additional COVID-related deaths have been reported in the Panhandle since publishing last week’s Ledger.

The following COVID-related deaths in the Panhandle were reported on Thursday, Nov. 19: Box Butte County female in her 80s, Dawes County male in his 80s, Grant County male in his 70s, Kimball County male in his 60s, Morrill County male in his 80s, Scotts Bluff County: Two females: one in her 60s and one in her 90s, Two males: one in his 60s and one his 70s, Sheridan County: two females in their 80s.

Five deaths were reported on Friday, Nov. 20: a Cheyenne County male in his 70s, two Morrill County males, one in his 60s and one in his 90s, a Scotts Bluff County male in his 60s, and a Sheridan County male in his 90s.

Two deaths were reported on Monday, Nov. 23: a Cheyenne County female in her 70s and a Kimball County female in her 90s have both recently passed away.

This brings the total deaths in the Panhandle to 49.

“We wish to express our sincerest condolences in the passing of the Panhandle residents. We send their friends and loved ones peace and comfort during their time of loss,” expressed Kim Engel, Panhandle Public Health District Director.

PPHD understands people may be experiencing pandemic fatigue, but this is the year to be as safe as possible for your family, friends, loved ones, and our most vulnerable community members. It is going to take all of us to break the transmission cycle.

There will come a time when standard family get-togethers will be safe again but this isn’t the time, unfortunately. Zoom is lifting its 40-minute time limit for free meetings on Thanksgiving.

This would be a great way for people to connect via long distance. It’s important to remember that the act of staying apart is the act of love this year.

An activity that PPHD is encouraging people to do is to engage in a conversation with your friends and loved ones, safely via phone call, video chat, or social media, to share what each is grateful for and mindful of. People’s mental health is just as critical as their physical health, we need people to feed that innate desire for connecting (safely, of course). Please be safe this Thanksgiving holiday.

Avoid the Three Cs:

  • Avoid Crowded Places – Avoid gathering in groups where you cannot maintain 6-feet of distance from others
  • Avoid Close Contact – Wear a mask over your nose and mouth or maintain 6-feet distance when you are spending more than 15 total minutes with people you don’t live with
  • Avoid Confined Spaces – Avoid enclosed spaces with poor ventilation

Unified Command confirms 393 more cases of COVID in the Panhandle since last reporting on Thursday, November 19. Recoveries are available on the Panhandle dashboard at The investigations are underway, all close contacts will be quarantined.

All Ages: 393





Box Butte
















Scotts Bluff






Under Investigation



Exposure Type



Close Contact




Under Investigation



March 2-November 23, 2020

  • Total Tests Conducted: 25,483
  • Positive: 5,472
  • Cumulative Positivity Rate: 21.4%
  • Recovered: 2,930
  • Active Cases: 2,493
  • Deaths: 49
  • Active Hospitalizations: 75
  • Total Cumulative Hospitalizations: 355
  • Hospital beds in the Panhandle with a COVID patient: 44%
  • Last week’s positivity rate: 42.6%
  • Last week’s cases: 743
  • Doubling time (October 30-November 20): 21 days


Testing information and access for the Panhandle area:

  • You can sign up for the following free testing at or 402-207-9377:
    • Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance: Monday-Friday, 9-10am
      • 212 East 24th Street   
    • Chadron Community Hospital: Mondays & Fridays, 7-9am
      • 821 Morehead Street (Old Hospital ER Entrance next to Wilson Park)
      • Other testing opportunities for symptomatic patients may be available through the hospital as ordered by your Primary Care Practitioner, call the hospital at 747-2466 with questions.
    • Gordon Memorial Hospital: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2-4pm
    • Regional West Health Services in Scottsbluff: Monday & Wednesday, Noon-3pm; Tuesdays & Fridays, 1pm-4pm; Call 308-630-2100 for other testing opportunities for symptomatic patients.
    • Sidney Regional Medical Center: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays, 7-9:30am
  • Community Action Health Center in Gering: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays, 7-8am
  • Alliance Community Pharmacy in Alliance: Monday-Friday, 7:30am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
    • For people experiencing symptoms, same day results. Call 308-629-1045 for appointment, fee is $125.
  • Morrill County Community Hospital in Bridgeport: Daily
    • Call 308-262-1616 for testing, same day results, insurance can be billed.
  • Contact your local hospital or clinic for information on testing access.

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