Panhandle Public Health District announced five additional cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Panhandle during a conference call on Monday, two of those affecting children 19 and under, and bringing the active case total to 54.
Both children’s exposure was listed as community spread, affecting a Dawes County child and a Scotts Bluff County child. The other three cases were close contact exposures of a Deuel County resident and two Scotts Bluff County residents.
Officials are not releasing more specific data in the daily briefings, but keep additional data on the PPHD dashboard at pphd.org. According to the dashboard, the adult cases included someone in the age range of 20 to 29 and 40 to 49.
Only one additional child case was listed in the 10 to 19 age-range. PPHD officials did not respond to comment on the other child’s age.
As of today, 8,320 tests have been conducted, about 10% of the Panhandle’s 82,900 residents. PPHD Director Kim Engel opened the meeting saying the Panhandle was “in better shape this week than the past few weeks.” The risk dial remains at Moderate Risk for most of the Panhandle, but some communities have moved to low risk.
With total cases at 444 with 384 recoveries, officials clarified what recovery means in the COVID-19 context. Paulette Schnell, Scotts Bluff County Public Health director, said health professionals call someone recovered when they have no longer been contagious for 10 days and a minimum of 24 hours without a fever. She said this can be complicated if people have chronic conditions that make it harder to get better.
“Sometimes it is literally weeks before someone can recover,” Schnell said. “And other times, people can be a minimum of 10 days.”
Schnell went on to say that for health officials, recovered is all about being contagious and not about someone’s physical condition.
“Some people take a very long time to where they feel better, are ready to return to work or go about their business,” she said. “Sometimes we can find out there are long-term effects due to having this virus.”
Officials continue to reiterate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommendations that people wash hands, social distance from one another and wear masks.
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