New COVID-19 cases plummet in Nebraska

Mike Stucka

Nebraska reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 3,009 new cases. That's down 15.6% from the previous week's toll of 3,566 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Nebraska ranked No. 35 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 817,934 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -21.3% from the week before. Across the country, 3 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across Nebraska, cases fell in 46 counties, with the best declines in Douglas, Lancaster and Adams counties.

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The share of Nebraska test results that came back positive was 3.7% in the latest week, compared with 4.9% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 81,385 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 78,707. 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 Dundy, Grant and Kimball ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Douglas County, with 845 cases; Lancaster County, with 469 cases; and Sarpy County, with 404. Weekly case counts rose in 37 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Sarpy, Otoe and York counties.

In Nebraska, 48 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 41 people were reported dead.

A total of 193,722 people in Nebraska have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 1,968 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 27,004,715 people have tested positive and 463,437 people have died.

The Rev. Mark Van Koevering receives his COVID-19 vaccination in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol on Thursday, February 4, 2021. Gov. Andy Beshear sought to gather faith leaders from across the state to get vaccinations so they will encourage their congregations to do the same when it's offered. He got his vaccine from Michelle Searcy from the Franklin County Health Department.