As the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases continues to climb throughout the Panhandle, officials with the COVID-19 Unified Command announced three new coronavirus cases in Box Butte County, bringing the county’s total number of positive cases since March 2 to 13.

On Aug. 7, Unified Command confirmed an adult in Box Butte County tested positive for COVID-19 and that they classified the case as a community spread. On Aug. 10, two more adults in Box Butte County had tested positive, noting one case was another community spread, while the other was an unknown exposure type.

As of press time, there has been a total of 463 cases in the Panhandle, with 47 active, 410 recovered and six deaths. Within the past week, officials confirmed a community exposure site in Chadron, noting that two people from Wyoming who attended the Cal Ripken 11 Under State Tournament had tested positive for coronavirus.

“During the investigation, health officials were not able to determine all close contacts and deemed it a community exposure site. We ask that all fans and players self-monitor and be tested if they develop symptoms,” Unified Command stated in a press release on Aug. 6.

Officials noted that the planning committee for the tournament submitted a safety plan prior to the event. Also on Aug. 6, Unified Command issued a press release detailing a presumed positive COVID-19 case at the Sheridan County Jail.

“Sheridan County jail recently had a detained individual that is a presumed COVID-19 positive case. The individual is now self-isolating at home. In accordance with the jail’s response plan, no additional people will be brought into the jail only diverted to another jail until the situation stabilizes. All currently detained individuals will be safely monitored for symptoms and increased safety precautions, while any staff potentially exposed or deemed a close contact will be self-quarantining,” the press release stated.

Unified Command officials are encouraging people to share kindness and to support one another as the coronavirus continues to spread. They remind people to continue social distancing and wearing masks when people are unable to socially distance. They also encourage proper hand washing and sanitation.

Free COVID-19 testing is available at Box Butte General Hospital through Test Nebraska. People can sign up on the website at www.testnebraska.com, or by calling 402-207-9377. Testing is available Monday through Friday from 9 to 10 a.m.

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