Six more cases of COVID-19 were identified in Nebraska on Wednesday, including the first instance of community spread in Saunders County and in Lincoln.
With that news, Lincoln initiated tougher restrictions on businesses, similar to Omaha’s.
Also among Wednesday’s cases were two in Douglas County and one each in Saunders, Dodge and Washington Counties.
The new cases in Douglas County bring the count in the state’s most populous county to 40. The latest cases involve a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 40s. Epidemiologists still were investigating both cases Wednesday afternoon.
The Douglas County Health Department is advising people to take precautions throughout the community to avoid infection with the novel coronavirus. That’s because many people infected with the virus have mild or no symptoms.
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According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of five people who become ill acquire the virus from people who didn’t know they were infected.
Meanwhile Wednesday, both the City of Lincoln and Saunders County were poised to join the Omaha area in imposing tougher restrictions on businesses and public gatherings to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said at a Wednesday press conference that the city had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by community spread. A case is considered community spread when the cause of transmission is unknown — someone tests positive who hasn’t traveled recently or been in contact with a person known to have the coronavirus disease.
The detection, she said, will trigger a “directed health measure” like that which has already been ordered in Douglas, Sarpy, Washington and Cass Counties.
The order, which can be enforced by police if necessary, requires restaurants and bars in Lincoln to close their dining areas immediately and move to takeout, delivery or curbside-only service until further notice. The measure also restricts alcohol sales to carryout and delivery only. And in Lincoln, as in Douglas County, it orders the shutdown of barbershops, hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors.
And the Three Rivers Public Health Department said a case announced Tuesday had been confirmed Wednesday as Saunders County’s first instance of community spread. Investigators were unable to determine where the woman, in her 50s, was exposed to the virus.
Three Rivers officials are in communication with state health officials with regard to issuing a directed health measure for the county.
The Three Rivers health agency also announced three new cases on Wednesday:
- Saunders County: a woman in her 50s who was in close contact with Tuesday’s reported case.
- Dodge County: its first reported case, a woman in her 40s.
- Washington County: A woman in her 60s became the county’s fifth case. She has been self-isolating at home since March 15.
World-Herald staff writer Jessica Wade contributed to this report.
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A woman wearing a mask carries belongings out of Carter Place, an assisted living facility in Blair, Nebraska on Wednesday. Two residents tested positive for coronavirus.
A child’s drawing is taped to a window at Carter Place, an assisted living facility in Blair, Nebraska on Wednesday. Two residents tested positive for coronavirus.
Keith Binder worked at Beercade in Benson until regulations put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus closed bars in the metro area. “It’s terrifying,” he said of being unemployed. “I’m a bartender. I don’t have a vast amount of savings.”
Healthcare workers bump elbows before conducting drive-thru testing at Bryan LifePointe Campus on Tuesday in Lincoln.
A man sits alone in a cafeteria area at Eppley Airfield on Tuesday. Air travel is down as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the globe.
A single traveler walks through Eppley Airfield on Tuesday.
A man walks the empty hallways at the Nebraska State Capitol on Monday in Lincoln. Lawmakers were allowed to watch the session from their offices on Monday before going to the chamber to vote on an emergency appropriation.
A legislative page places a piece of paper page outlining Gov. Pete Ricketts key points for emergency funding on a desk at the State Capitol on Monday.
State Sen. Mark Kolterman, right, greets Sen. Tony Vargas with an elbow touch Monday.
KENNETH FERRIERA/ THE WORLD-HERALD
Pastor Olaf Roynesdal makes opening remarks to a mostly empty Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church on Sunday in Omaha. Though the church already streams some services online, the camera has become even more important due to crowd limits imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Rows of pews sit empty at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church on Sunday in Omaha. The church conducted services via online streaming.
Jaeger, a German shepherd mix puppy, watches Ed Snawerdt, of Omaha, from the front seat of his adoptive family’s van outside the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha on Saturday, March 21, 2020. The Nebraska Humane Society is holding a sale on adoption fees that will extend until further notice, as they try to get as many animals into homes as possible before any potential shutdown due to the novel coronavirus.
Steven Morris and Dani Alderson, of Omaha, pet Morty before adopting him. The Nebraska Humane Society is holding a sale on adoption fees that will extend until further notice, as they try to get as many animals into homes as possible before any potential shutdown due to the novel coronavirus.
Emma Lepert, the event planner, brings out a to-go order to a person waiting in a car at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha on Friday, March 20, 2020. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an executive order Thursday that loosens restrictions on bars and restaurants to sell alcohol to customers placing order for takeout or delivery.
Courtney Tatum, the assistant manager, draws a yard sign to let customer know they have takeout and delivery available at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha on Friday, March 20, 2020. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an executive order Thursday that loosens restrictions on bars and restaurants to sell alcohol to customers placing order for takeout or delivery.
An employee prepares a sake bomb kit for a takeout order at Butterfish in midtown Omaha. Restaurants can also deliver alcohol with meals, with rules similar to curbside pickup.
Madeleine Morelli, left, sets up a phone to record her husband, Creighton medical student John Morelli, right, when he opens his match day letter to people watching on a video chat at their Omaha home on Friday, March 20, 2020. The coronavirus changed the large traditional match day ceremonies to more intimate ceremonies and video chats when students opened their envelopes. John was matched with Vanderbilt. They used two laptops and one phone to video chat, and then used a second phone to record the event.
Creighton medical student John Morelli talks to friends and family on several video chats as he prepares to open his match day envelope at his Omaha home on Friday. The coronavirus changed the large traditional match day ceremonies to more intimate ceremonies and video chats when students opened their envelopes.
A Tabitha employee waves to a group of volunteers outside as they cheer with supporting messages during a shift change on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at Tabitha Health Care Services in Lincoln.
Volunteers, from left, Emily Schweitzer, Tess Kurtenbach, Jennifer Kimmons and Maryann Castillo cheer with supporting messages to healthcare workers as they change shifts Thursday, March 19, 2020, at Tabitha Health Care Services in Lincoln.
Hannah Holguin, a math teacher at Omaha South High School, readies sack lunches outside the State Farm near 30th and L St. in Omaha on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The Packer Pantry, through Omaha South High School, is giving out free sack lunches to anyone who needs them while the novel coronavirus pandemic continues. Donations can be made by contacting them via facebook.
Ashlyn Franks, 7, of Omaha, carries a sign so people know where to stop for a free lunch outside the State Farm near 30th and L St. in Omaha on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The Packer Pantry, through Omaha South High School, is giving out free sack lunches to anyone who needs them while the novel coronavirus pandemic continues. Donations can be made by contacting them via facebook.
Samii Robey, with the UNO Outdoor Adventure Center, pressure washes the holds for the rock-climbing wall at UNO on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The OVC regularly cleans the holds, but with everything shutdown on campus, they decided to take advantage of the downtown and clean them now.
Katarina Gleisberg does mindfulness exercise at Memorial Park in the rain on Thursday, March 19, 2020.
Chloe Corbett and Samuel Stevens stand behind a piece of tape 6 feet from Chris Stungis, a records clerk, while picking up their marriage license. Due to coronavirus concerns, all Homestead Exemption help sites are closed.
Chris Stungis, a records clerk, steps back 6 feet as Chloe Corbett and Samuel Stevens come to the counter to verify information on their marriage license at the Douglas County Clerk’s Office on Thursday. The office is issuing new marriage licenses by appointment only, and only for ceremonies that are scheduled within two weeks to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus. Corbett and Stevens are getting married on Saturday with exclusively immediate family invited. “We’ve replanned an entire wedding in two days,” Stevens said. “But we’re getting married, and that’s what is important.”
Emily Moody plays tag with her daughter Janie, 5, as their miniature golden doodle, Wrigley, joins them for “recess” in the family’s yard on Wednesday. The family has a daily schedule to help navigate as they stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The wall of a classroom at 88 Tactical is painted with diagrams of various handguns on Wednesday. Gun and ammunition sales are on the rise amid coronavirus fears.
Instructor Bryan Breitkreutz, center, teaches a handgun level 1 class on Wednesday at 88 Tactical in Omaha.
Union Pacific employees take part in a digital meeting Wednesday in Omaha. It’s one of the measures the company is using to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Tessa Keeran watches as children eat lunch at Through The Years Child Care in Omaha. The facility makes sure to space the kids out while they eat because of the coronavirus outbreak. Most of these kids would normally be in school during the day.
Tessa Keeran makes sure Laylah Lee washes her hands correctly before lunch at Through the Years Child Care in Omaha. Day cares are adapting to new limits on crowd sizes because of coronavirus.
Cassondra June delivers a lunch order to a customer’s car Wednesday at Porky Butts BBQ. Omaha-area restaurants are adapting after Gov. Pete Ricketts ordered dining areas closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. The barbecue spot added curbside delivery this week.
A woman exits the St. Thomas Aquinas Church at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nebraskans are trying to adapt to social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Paddy McGown’s Pub and Grill located at 4503 Center St., was did not have the normal crowd it would on St. Patrick’s Day because of coronavirus concerns.
Bourbon general manager Aaron Galvan puts up a sign to encourage people on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Lincoln. “Someone will probably think this is dumb but it is just meant to be positive,” Galvan said.
A note grace the front of Yia-Yia’s Pizza on St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Lincoln. Several bars and restaurants in Nebraska are temporarily closing because of coronavirus concerns.
Douglas County District Judge Horacio Wheelock “appears” in his courtroom using Skype on Tuesday. He recently traveled to Europe and, though he has no symptoms of coronavirus disease, is under a 14-day self-quarantine as a precaution, as recommended by health officials.
Workers at the Brazen Head Irish Pub had a room to themselves on St. Patrick’s Day. The Brazen Head had to turn people away after Gov. Pete Ricketts called Monday for public gatherings to be limited to 10 people. That recommendation became an order Wednesday in Douglas County.
Gary Hylen, of Omaha, eats a plate of corned beef and cabbage at the Brazen Head Irish Pub in Omaha on St. Patrick’s Day, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The restaurant and bar was having to turn people away from the dining rooms after Gov. Pete Ricketts called for public gatherings to be limited to 10 or fewer people on Monday to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Dodge Street looking west in Omaha on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Schools in the area have closed indefinitely and many businesses are encouraging employees to work from home to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Classes have been canceled March 16-20, extending spring break by a week for the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Classes are expected to move to an online format starting March 30, to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Workers prepare meals to be distributed at Westside Middle School on Monday. The meals were meant to replace the food that kids would be getting at schools if they were not closed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Kristen Lightfoot leaves Gilder Elementary School on Monday morning after meeting with Principal Cassie Schmidt, who is in the doorway. Lightfoot, a first grade teacher at Gilder, picked up packets of printed lessons for her own two children, Jack, a fourth grader, and Allie, a first grader.
Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets holds a press conference with the Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt, center right, and Nebraska Department of Labor Commissioner John Albin, far right, addressing COVID-19 on Monday, March 16, 2020, in the Governor’s Hearing Room at the Nebraska State Capitol.
Parking spots were open for blocks in the Old Market on Monday as fears about the coronavirus kept people home.
Barrett’s Barleycorn located at 4322 Leavenworth St, which normally has a big St. Patrick’s Day celebration, announced it was closing the day before the holiday due to fears about the coronavirus on Monday.
Parking spots were open for blocks looking north on 14th Street from Douglas Street in the Old Market on Monday, March 16, 2020. Fears about the coronavirus have meant many people were staying home.
Parking spots were open for blocks looking west on Harney Street from 10th Street in the Old Market on Monday, March 16. Fears about the coronavirus have meant many people were staying home.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, holds a press conference Monday addressing COVID-19 with the Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt, center, and Nebraska Department of Labor Commissioner John Albin.
Paper shamrocks are put in a window near 45th and Hickory Streets on Monday. The social media idea is for kids stuck at home because of the coronavirus can go through the neighborhood and count shamrocks in windows on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Auburn fan section got creative in their state championship with Ogallala during the Nebraska state basketball tournament. Crowds were limited to staff and immediate family due to fears of the coronavirus.
Wahoo’s Trey Scheef attempts a three-point basket in front of Elkhorn Mount Michael’s Bradley Bennett during the first day of the state high school basketball tournament.
Tammy Hancock and Jaxson, left and Griffin, right, check with Wahoo administrator Marc Kaminski to see if they are the list to attend the first day of the boys Nebraska state high school basketball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday.
A woman cleans a walkway near the Anderson Complex on the campus of Midland University on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The campus is currently closed due to coronavirus fears.
A local woman with coronavirus disease was brought to the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus Friday night to be treated in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. She was transferred in an isolation in an ambulance.
Officials help passengers off a plane at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield into waiting vehicles from Nebraska Medicine.