Counties in southeast Nebraska saw a slight decrease in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases this week.
According to Public Health Solutions, which oversees five counties in the area including Gage, each county had fewer new cases.
There were 128 confirmed cases in Gage, 68 in Jefferson, 122 in Saline, 41 in Thayer and 50 in Fillmore counties, for a total of 409 new cases in the last week.
The previous week, there were 195 new cases in Gage, 78 in Jefferson, 138 in Saline, 73 in Thayer and 62 in Fillmore counties, for a total of 549 cases.
Overall positivity rates of tests have also fallen for all but one county in the district. The positive rate went from 35.33% to 30.99% in Gage, 31.84% to 28.45% in Jefferson, 37% to 40.13% in Saline, 54.89% to 22.28% in Thayer and 46.62% to 45.87% in Fillmore counties, for an overall positivity rate in the district that went from 38.2% to 32.75%.
Last week the Beatrice Board of Health enacted a mask mandate for the city, requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public places.
The mandate, which will be in effect until Dec. 15, states that individuals must wear a mask while in any indoor public facility, unless actively eating or drinking.
It also limits bars and restaurants to eight people per table, with no exemption for playing games, and no bar seating whatsoever. The board also specified that the mandate is required when individuals are utilizing indoor fitness centers
This week Public Health Solutions reported there were 27 people hospitalized, with 17 of them being transferred to hospitals outside of the district. One additional death has been linked to COVID-19 and officials are awaiting confirmation.
Public Health Solutions’ risk dial was unchanged this week, and remains just inside the red, or severe, risk level.
In total, there have now been 1,204 confirmed cases in Gage, 338 in Jefferson, 1,421 in Saline, 236 in Thayer and 322 in Fillmore counties.