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LINCOLN – A fourth presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). DHHS is awaiting final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The person is a woman in her 40s who lives in Douglas County. She recently traveled to California and Nevada. The person is recovering at home. Douglas County Health Department (DCHD's) and DHHS are starting a contact investigation.
“As cases have been reported, DHHS and local health departments have swiftly initiated investigations to identify and assess people who came into close contact with the person to help prevent further spread," said Dr. Gary Anthone, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS.
Trained epidemiology staff conduct comprehensive interviews with the person and their family members, analyze all available evidence such as credit and debit card receipts, and construct a detailed history of where the person was and then follow the trail to find any contact at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
All identified close contacts will self-quarantine and be actively monitored twice daily by public health officials for fever and respiratory symptoms. Even with these aggressive efforts, we expect to see additional cases in Nebraska.
On Sunday, DHHS announced the second and third COVID-19 cases in the state - two family members of the first case identified in a Nebraska resident. Both live in Douglas County. They are experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and are improving, and have been in self-quarantine at home since Friday. Both had limited exposure to other individuals in the community, based on information gathered during DCHD's investigation. Other close contacts of the first case who have been tested so far, have tested negative for the disease. These two people had limited exposure to other individuals in the community, based on information gathered during DCHD's investigation.
Nebraska's initial case of COVID-19 is a woman is in her 30s from Douglas County who recently returned from England. She continues to be treated at Nebraska Medicine/University of Nebraska Medical Center's Biocontainment Unit. Public health officials continue to identify additional people who came into close contact with this person.
Disease experts haven't detected COVID-19 spreading in Nebraska communities at this time.
Nebraskans also have a role to play in this response and it's important to be prepared. Nebraskans should expect closures in their communities as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing will also be necessary.
Here's where you can find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC's website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.
Individual actions can also have an impact and help decrease the spread of COVID-19.
We will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC's website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.