COVID-19 cases surge 12.8% in Nebraska

Mike Stucka

New coronavirus cases leaped in Nebraska in the week ending Sunday, rising 12.8% as 1,933 cases were reported. The previous week had 1,713 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Nebraska ranked 35th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 471,554 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of 3.7% from the week before. Across the country, 29 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Within Nebraska, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Sheridan, Richardson and Wayne counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Douglas County, with 486 cases; Lancaster County, with 301 cases; and Sarpy County, with 297. Weekly case counts rose in 46 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Sarpy, Hall and Buffalo counties.

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The share of Nebraska test results that came back positive was 3.3% in the latest week, compared with 2.8% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 56,805 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 61,478. Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Across Nebraska, cases fell in 31 counties, with the best declines in Scotts Bluff, Seward and Gage counties.

In Nebraska, 35 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 45 people were reported dead.

A total of 200,882 people in Nebraska have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 2,082 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 28,605,669 people have tested positive and 513,091 people have died.

Kim Mason, left, receives her second COVID-19 vaccine from medical assistant Teone Fjeld at the soon-to-open Coquille Indian Tribe medical clinic in Eugene, Oregon.