Box Butte County Sees Two New COVID-19 Cases

Over the past week, Box Butte County has seen two more confirmed COVID-19 cases as cases spread throughout the Panhandle.

The first case was announced on July 23. Officials with Unified Command confirmed that a woman in her 60s in Box Butte County was diagnosed with coronavirus. On July 27, officials also confirmed a man in his 60s in Box Butte County tested positive for COVID-19. Both cases were determined to be community spread.

On July 24, Unified Command announced the sixth death in the Panhandle due to COVID-19. Officials said a woman in her 70s in Scotts Bluff County with underlying health conditions had succumbed to the virus.

“We must continue all increased prevention to guard our most vulnerable populations,” said Paulette Schnell, Scotts Bluff County Health Department Director, in a press release.

As of press time, there have been a total of 415 positive cases of COVID-19 throughout the Panhandle since testing began on March 2. In Banner County, there have been been two cases, which have recovered; in Box Butte County there have been 10 cases with two active cases and eight that have recovered; in Cheyenne County there have been 25 cases with three active cases and 22 that have recovered; in Dawes County there have been four cases, which have recovered; in Deuel County, there has been one case, which has recovered; in Garden County, there have been four cases, which have recovered; in Kimball County there have been 17 cases, with one active case and 16 that have recovered; in Morrill County there have been 59 cases, with five active cases and 54 that have recovered; in Scotts Bluff County there have been 278 cases with 56 active cases, 216 that have recovered and six that have died; in Sheridan County there have been nine cases with one active case and eight that have recovered; and in Sioux County there have been six cases, which have recovered.

Unified Command officials reminded people of the guidelines for quarantine for people who have been exposed to the virus.

“When a person has been exposed or identified as a close contact to COVID-19, even if they get tested and it is negative, they still must quarantine for the 14-day timeframe. Testing is considered a “point-in-time test” meaning, they were only negative at that particular point, but they could still develop symptoms in the two to 14 day timeframe,” a press release stated.

Unified Command officials noted that with county fairs taking place, the Nebraska Extension Office has been taking steps to ensure safety.

“Nebraska Extension has done an outstanding job overall with the reinforcement of safety practices through setting up shows, judging, and all the intricacies of 4-H projects in a very safe manner. The fairs have also been organizing and coordinating for the most up-to-date safety experiences, but attendees have an important role of staying in compliance with the safety precautions as well,” officials stated in a press release.

Officials encourage people to take precautions, including following social distancing, washing or sanitizing hands frequently, and wearing a mask when possible.