Nebraska reached more milestones in coronavirus infections Thursday as cases statewide passed the 4,000 mark, Sarpy County recorded its first death, and Douglas County saw, by a significant margin, its largest daily increase in cases.
The official statewide total on Thursday was 4,281, up 497 from the day before. A total of 71 deaths have been reported by state and local officials, up by 3.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Douglas County jumped by 73 on Thursday to a total of 609. The previous highest daily increase in the county was 49.
The rise in cases in the Omaha metro area was accompanied by a stern warning from Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour.
“This extremely serious health threat remains in our community,” she said. “Stay home as much as you can, and please wear a mask when you leave home.”
Sixteen people have died in Douglas County, and on Thursday, Sarpy County reported the death of a man in his 80s with serious underlying health problems.
With health measures being relaxed Monday, Pour said it is more important than ever for people to wear masks and adhere to the 6-foot physical distancing guideline.
Douglas County’s total is likely rising for two reasons, said County Health Department spokesman Phil Rooney: More people are being tested, and more of those tests are coming back positive.
The percentage of people testing positive in Douglas County has jumped in the past week, health department statistics indicate. From late March through most of April, 4% to 8% of tests a week yielded positive results. So far this week, the positive rate has been about 24%.
The Central District Health Department, which serves the three-county Grand Island area, reported 1,100 total cases on Thursday, an increase of 70 from the day before. A total of 1,042 have been recorded in Hall County, and the remainder are in Hamilton and Merrick Counties.
Two new deaths were reported in the Central District, one each in Hall and Hamilton Counties, bringing the district’s total to 37.