Mar 7, 2020 - Health

Nebraska announces first presumptive coronavirus case

In this image, Gov. Pete Rickett speaks at CPAC

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts at CPAC in 2017. Photo: Mike Theiler/AFP via Getty Images

Nebraska announced its first presumptive positive case of the novel coronavirus on Friday.

What's happening: The patient is a woman in her 30s who returned from England in February and was hospitalized on Thursday, per a press release from the state health department. The case is travel-related and health officials have not found evidence of COVID-19 spreading in the state.

  • The woman is currently being transferred to a biocontainment unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
  • State health authorities are working with the CDC to identify who has come into close contact with the affected patient.
  • Those identified will be self-isolated and actively monitored twice daily by health officials for fever and respiratory symptoms. They will undergo further testing if symptoms are found.

What they're saying: “Ensuring the health of Nebraskans is our main priority,” Dr. Tom Safranek, state epidemiologist for DHHS, said in the Friday press release. “These actions are meant to help decrease the risk of disease spreading in the community. However, even with these actions, we may see additional confirmed cases in Nebraska.”

What you can do: Nebraskan residents are advised to avoid close contact with those who are sick, wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

The big picture: There are now more than 300 coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

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