New coronavirus cases plummet in Nebraska

Mike Stucka
Kayla Massie, right, is joined by Moberly High School Astra Club members Maddie Taylor, left, and Anna Rivera as they review a document to verify if a motorist's name is shown on a list of persons who  made an advance reservation to receive a free meal Wednesday at the annual Moberly Community Goodwill Thanksgiving Dinner drive-thru event in Missouri. In lieu of its traditional buffet-style sit-down dinner, the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to change its format and require persons to meet a Nov. 17 deadline to reserve a meal for pick up.

Nebraska reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Saturday, adding 12,294 new cases. That's down 24.1% from the previous week's toll of 16,195 new cases.

Nebraska ranked No. 6 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 1,140,385 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -3.9% from the week before. Across the country, 16 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across Nebraska, cases fell in 69 counties, with the best declines in Douglas, Sarpy and Madison counties.

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The share of Nebraska test results that came back positive was 12.9% in the latest week, compared with 13.3% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 96,092 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 125,994. 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.

Within Nebraska, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Logan, Webster and Morrill counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Douglas County, with 3,894 cases; Lancaster County, with 1,820 cases; and Sarpy County, with 1,138. Weekly case counts rose in 21 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Cheyenne, Webster and Seward counties.

In the state, 84 people died in the latest week. In the previous week, 126 people died.

A total of 125,323 people in Nebraska have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 989 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 13,244,417 people have tested positive and 266,047 people have died.