Testing confirmed six more cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln, including a child, bringing the total number of cases in Lancaster County to 45, health officials said Thursday.
The five adults who tested positive for the coronavirus-caused disease ranged in age from their 30s to their 60s, and all six cases contracted the virus because of its spread within the community, interim Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director Pat Lopez said.
On Wednesday, the city reported its first death from the virus, a man in his 50s who had an underlying health condition.
Nebraska has reported more than 570 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and Lancaster County has the third highest number of cases behind Douglas and Hall counties, according to city and state health data.
Statewide, 15 people have died from the viral disease.
Positives tests in Lancaster County have only come back in 3% of samples with conclusive results, compared to a 6% positive rate statewide, according to Journal Star analysis of state and local testing data.
"We're much more compressed in our city than the rest of the state," Lopez said.
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department staff believe measures to prevent gatherings locally and the public's compliance with hygiene recommendations, physical distancing and the importance of staying home have contributed to a lower transmission rate, she said.
With Easter weekend approaching, Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said people could still connect spiritually even if they don't physically gather at their churches or each other's homes.
"It won't always be this way," she said.
Anyone attending a parking lot service should remain in their cars, arrive with only members of their household in their vehicle and not mingle with others outside of their cars, the mayor said.
Churches holding such services should not pass a collection plate but direct congregants to make an offering online and song sheets or bulletins should also be digital and not distributed, the mayor said.
COVID-19 precautions have recently been completed at the People's City Mission to spread out the residents of the homeless shelter and prepare a space to allow for better quarantining, city officials announced Thursday.
Thirteen families, including 15 adults and 33 children, have been relocated from the women and family shelter at the People's City Mission into alternative housing.
Also, City Mission staff working with a health department-led task force recently set up a 12-bed center in a nearby brick building to quarantine any residents there who have possible exposure.
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