Majority of coronavirus deaths in Nebraska at nursing homes

The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – About two-thirds of deaths from the coronavirus in Nebraska have involved residents of long-term care facilities, the governor said.

Nebraska has reported 4,838 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and 73 deaths. The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher than the number of confirmed cases, though, because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected without feeling sick.

At least 48 of Nebraska’s deaths have involved nursing home residents, The Lincoln Journal Star reported.

The statistics, provided by Gov. Pete Ricketts during a news briefing on Friday, were evidence of the dangers that older people face from the virus, especially those dealing with other health conditions.

Nationally, more than 11,000 nursing home deaths have been linked to COVID-19.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Statewide restrictions in Nebraska are easing starting Monday, when restaurants and businesses can reopen and religious gatherings can resume, though social distancing requirements will remain in place.

Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour said Friday that the timing for reopening the state was right because hospitals have enough capacity and people are becoming fatigued and starting to stray from all the regulations, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

“We need to be realistic,” Pour said. “I think that’s what the governor is seeing, too.”

But Pour, speaking at a news conference, expressed concern about churches resuming services.

“My advice would be if you are vulnerable, you are at high risk,” Pour said. “There are many other avenues where you can worship, and I would prefer individuals who are elderly, have underlying illnesses, immunocompromised systems, that those individuals stay at home.”

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Check out more of the AP’s coronavirus coverage at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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