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23 new coronavirus cases reported in Lancaster County
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23 new coronavirus cases reported in Lancaster County

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This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19.

Lancaster County reported 23 more coronavirus cases on Wednesday but no new deaths from COVID-19, according to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. 

The county's total number of cases has risen to 1,120, and the death toll remains at nine. 

Interim Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director Pat Lopez said the county's overall rate of positive tests remained at 7.9% and continues to be lower than the state and national rates.

Local residents comprise a larger portion of the COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Lincoln with 23 of the 35 people receiving care Wednesday being Lancaster County residents, Lopez said.

By comparison, 31 of the 37 people hospitalized four weeks ago were from outside the county, Lopez said. That coincided with a large outbreak in Grand Island.

On Wednesday, 12 patients required ventilators, and the hospitals still had the capacity to treat new patients even as they have gradually increased the number of elective surgeries, Lopez said. 

She remains confident in the local hospitals' ability to deal with a regional outbreak if it arose, she said. 

Contact tracers identified five more Lancaster County cases of COVID-19 linked to the outbreak at the Smithfield meatpacking plant in Crete for a total of 313, she said. 

No new cases have been linked to meatpacking plants in Lancaster County, she said.

People with symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to seek testing, she said.

Additional testing for racial and ethnic minorities, who have been disproportionately affected by the virus, will be done Friday at Lincoln High School from 1-3 p.m. Bryan Health's mobile testing unit, along with representatives from the community's cultural centers, will staff the testing site. 

Testing will be done by appointment only, Lopez said.

Photos: The scene in Lincoln 

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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Local government reporter

Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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