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Stepped up testing reveals more COVID-19 Cases in Douglas County

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Posted at 10:56 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-22 00:41:37-04

OMAHA, NE — The Douglas County Health Department said on Saturday evening that increased testing for the coronavirus in Douglas County is revealing many new cases.

The health department says six more cases were identified in the county, bringing the total number to 34 in Douglas County. The state Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the total number of cases statewide at 48.

The health department warned that as testing continues it expects the number of confirmed cases to continue to rise. It also warned that the CDC says evidence is showing people are contracting the disease from others who aren't showing symptoms.

The health department issued new guidelines for self-quarantining that includes staying in isolation for at least 3 days after a fever breaks.

The full news release from the health department is below:

Multiple new positive tests of the novel coronavirus have been located in Douglas County as testing for COVID-19 ramps up in the community.

Six additional cases, a mix of men and women, were confirmed Saturday, with three of them travel-related and three who are contacts of a positive case. Additional cases remain under investigation. The total number of confirmed cases in Douglas County is 34.

“We anticipated that increased testing would uncover more cases of COVID-19,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “That has proven to be the case. Both are experiencing mild symptoms and are self-isolating while recovering at home.”

Two travel-related cases - a man in his 30s and a man in his 60s - were confirmed as COVID-19 positive late Friday with further investigation conducted Saturday, March 21.

The Health Department is advising that with the development of community spread in Douglas County, precautions to avoid becoming infected with COVID-19 need to be taken everywhere, not just in locations previously listed as having the potential for exposure. However, DCHD also feels it is important to note that many people who are sick have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The CDC reports that four out of five people who have become ill acquired the disease from someone who didn’t know they had it. That means there are likely many more people in the community who are infected with COVID-19 than have been reported.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms – a fever, cough, fatigue, and sore throat - or develop symptoms, contact your health care provider and tell them how you are feeling. Please notify them of any potential exposure to a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. We ask that you call ahead before you go to the doctor’s office or an emergency room.

DCHD’s information line remains open to anyone with general questions about COVID-19. That number, (402) 444-3400, is answered seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Nebraska DHHS has a COVID-19 information line open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily at (402) 552-6645. Any person who has questions outside those hours is asked to call the United Way’s 2-1-1 Resource Hotline.

New guidance has been provided for people who have been asked to self-isolate at home due to symptoms of COVID-19 or a confirmed diagnosis. You are asked to remain in isolation at least three days after your fever has ended without the use of fever-reducing medications and your symptoms have improved. It also must be seven days since your diagnosis.