OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Thursday the Douglas County Health Department announced there were 189 new cases of COVID-19, increasing the county’s total to 4,865.
According to Dr. Mark Rupp, the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, over the last 14 days Nebraska is one of the highest states in the country in cases per million persons.
“This isn’t a dramatic departure from that but it does give pause and folks should be watching the closely,” Rupp said. He added the number of new cases is higher than what was reported over the previous three days.
“We’re not out of the woods and we could see a resurgence of cases due to relaxing of some of the precautionary measures that have been done,” Rupp said.
As of 6 p.m. Thursday evening, across the state there are currently 15,117 positive cases of coronavirus. More than 56-percent of positive cases in Nebraska are those under 44-years old and roughly 38-percent of cases are from those under the age of 34.
“Young people are not immune from this and they can have severe disease and could be vectors to take it to other people who are at higher risk,” Rupp said.
He said there needs to be aggressive messaging to young adults as they start to get tired, frustrated and fatigued over current social mitigating practices such as social distancing and wearing a mask. However he reiterated that it’s important for people to still maintain social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and to not touch your face.
“This virus doesn’t care about your political persuasion, religious group you belong to or other reason why you’re congregating,” Rupp said. “It will take advantage of those things and we need to be careful.”
Rupp added there has been an increase in the percentage of the tests that are turning positive, indicating there continues to be community spread. He said Nebraskans need to be careful when opening businesses and says the worry is there will be an upswing in cases with businesses reopening.
“We need to continue to do what we need to do in order to prevent transmission and see if we can get the curve starting to come down more dramatically,” Rupp said.
Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.