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Lincoln reports first death from COVID-19, 'a somber moment for our community,' mayor says
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Lincoln reports first death from COVID-19, 'a somber moment for our community,' mayor says

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Virus

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.

A man in his 50s confirmed to have COVID-19 on Tuesday has died, marking the first coronavirus-related death in Lincoln, city officials announced Wednesday.

"This is a somber moment for our community,” Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said, extending her sympathies to the friends and relatives of the man.

The man who died wasn't identified by city officials, who said he contracted COVID-19 by community spread.

He'd been hospitalized and had an underlying health condition, interim Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director Pat Lopez said.

He's the 13th death in Nebraska associated with COVID-19, nine of which have involved residents in their 70s or older.

Five more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Lancaster County on Wednesday, bringing the total to 39, and all five appear to stem from community spread of the virus, Lopez said.

Three were women, in their 40s, 50s and 60s, respectively, and two involved men in their 40s and 50s.

The largest share of testing in Lancaster County has been conducted on people ages 30 to 49, with many being first responders or health care workers, Lopez said. 

Positives test results locally have concentrated among people ages 50 to 64, who often can be more susceptible to the virus because of underlying health conditions, she said.

City Hall: Lincoln's seeking protective equipment for first responders, health care facilities

Lancaster County continues to significantly trail Douglas and Hall counties in the numbers of confirmed cases.

State and local officials said they expect to see the number of confirmed cases continue to rise as the ability to test for the virus has expanded in recent weeks.

More than 8,000 tests have been conducted to date in Nebraska, and positive tests have registered in 6% of samples, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

In Lancaster County, about 3% of tests have come back positive, according to data from the city.

Local health officials Wednesday continued to monitor 110 people for symptoms of the virus because of recent travel or exposure. 

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

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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