January 23, 2021

Dawson County Journal

Serving Dawson County Nebraska

PPHD: One New Death, New Cases Steady at 370

PPHD: One New Death, New Cases Steady at 370

Panhandle Public Health officials say one additional COVID-related death is being reported in the Panhandle, a Scotts Bluff County male in his 60s.

The death brings the total toll in the Panhandle to 50 as 370 new cases were reported since this past Monday.

PPHD staff discussed the importance of using multiple strategies to combat spread of the illness which, when combined, provide what is called a ‘Swiss cheese’ prevention approach. It’s important to recognize that no single intervention is perfect at preventing disease spread.

When you think of swiss cheese, it has various holes but what if there are enough layers of prevention measures being taken that those holes don’t align and ultimately keep people safe.

Personal Responsibilities:

  • Physical distancing
  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Masks
  • Frequently washing your hands and coughing into your elbow/sleeve
  • Avoiding touching your face

Shared Responsibilities:

  • Fast and sensitive testing and tracing
  • Ventilation, outdoors, air filtration
  • Government messaging & financial support
  • Quarantine & Isolation
  • Vaccines

Each of these measures, or layers for that matter, has imperfections or holes. However, multiple layers improve the success of the response effort.

It takes each and every one of us making safe and informed choices not just for ourselves and family members but the overall community as well.

  • Avoid the Three Cs:
    • Avoid Crowded Places – Avoid gathering in groups where you cannot maintain 6-feet of distance from others
    • Avoid Close Contact – Wear a mask over your nose and mouth or maintain 6-feet distance when you are spending more than 15 total minutes with people you don’t live with
    • Avoid Confined Spaces – Avoid enclosed spaces with poor ventilation

There continued to be some small, incremental improvements in several statistical measures in the Panhandle. Staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID patients continued to fall slowly, sitting at 41.5 percent, and case doubling time over the prior 21 days increased to 23, up two days from the same measure reported Monday.

PPHD Director Kim Engel also noted there have been fewer total new positive cases this week, and while district staff was pleased to see that development, they were also wondering why that was the case. “We’ve even reached out to experts at UNMC to ask what their opinion was, and there’s many possibilities,” said Engel. “The one we hope for is that everyone out there is doing the right thing… But we also worry it’s maybe because people aren’t getting tested, and we hear that quite a bit.”

Engle also said PPHD is aware of at least 16 additional deaths in the region that are deemed COVID-related, but they have yet to receive official confirmation from the state.

All Ages: 370
County Cases
Banner 2
Box Butte 33
Cheyenne 56
Dawes 15
Deuel 5
Garden 6
Grant 1
Kimball 10
Morrill 14
Scotts Bluff 220
Sheridan 7
Sioux 1
Under Investigation 0


Exposure Type
Community 20%
Close Contact 25%
Travel 0%
Under Investigation 55%


Recoveries are available on the Panhandle dashboard at www.pphd.org

March 2-November 27, 2020

  • Total Tests Conducted: 26,334
  • Positive: 5,839
  • Cumulative Positivity Rate: 22.2%
  • Recovered: 3,379
  • Active Cases: 2,410
  • Deaths: 50
  • Active Hospitalizations: 71
  • Total Cumulative Hospitalizations: 369
  • Last week’s positivity rate: 42.6%
  • Last week’s cases: 743
  • Doubling time (November 1-24): 23 days

Testing information and access for the Panhandle area:

  • You can sign up for the following free testing at Testnebraska.com or 402-207-9377:
    • Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance: Monday-Friday, 9-10am
      • 212 East 24th Street
    • Chadron Community Hospital: Mondays & Fridays, 7-9am
      • 821 Morehead Street (Old Hospital ER Entrance next to Wilson Park)
      • Other testing opportunities for symptomatic patients may be available through the hospital as ordered by your Primary Care Practitioner, call the hospital at 747-2466 with questions.
    • Gordon Memorial Hospital: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2-4pm
    • Regional West Health Services in Scottsbluff: Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays: Noon-3pm; Call 308-630-2100 for other testing opportunities for symptomatic patients.
    • Sidney Regional Medical Center: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays, 7-9:30am
  • Community Action Health Center in Gering: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays, 7-8am
  • Alliance Community Pharmacy in Alliance: Monday-Friday, 7:30am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
    • For people experiencing symptoms, same day results. Call 308-629-1045 for appointment, fee is $125.
  • Morrill County Community Hospital in Bridgeport: Daily
    • Call 308-262-1616 for testing, same day results, insurance can be billed.
  • Contact your local hospital or clinic for information on testing access.

PPHD: One New Death, New Cases Steady at 370