During a briefing on Thursday, local health officials confirmed nine additional COVID-19 cases, as well as the temporary closure of a local daycare facility.

Scotts Bluff County was the only county within the Panhandle Public Health District to report new cases, increasing its total by nine. The total number of positives in PPHD is now 116, with 41 active cases. Two new recoveries were reported, bringing the total to 75 recoveries.

Of the new cases, six have been determined to be close contacts of others who have tested positive and include a female in her teens, a female in her 20s, a female in her 30s and one in her 40s. Two men, both in their 20s were also deemed close contact.

Two cases have been tied to community spread — a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s. Scotts Bluff County Health Director Paulette Schnell said officials are still carrying out an investigation into the ninth case, which is a female in her 70s.

During Thursday’s briefing, officials presented a statement from Sunshine Corner Day Care, which has temporarily closed due to an administrative staff member’s positive COVID-19 test

According to the statement, the diagnosis came on May 25, an investigation has been completed and close contacts have been identified and quarantined.

The decision was made to close for a two week period because several of the close contacts involved other staff. It was determined that no children were close contacts.

Since Monday, another staff member has tested positive. The individual had contact with children in the facility, and the families of those children have been advised to self-quarantine. No children have tested positive as of Thursday afternoon.

Panhandle Public Health Director Kim Engel said the daycare has been working closely with health officials.

“On behalf of the Panhandle Day Care Center/Sunshine Day Care Board of Directors, our hearts are heavy that this has happened and we value our employees, clients and children as if they are our own family,” said board president Mike Donovan in the statement. “We will be following all advice that local health officials provide us with to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees, clients and their children.”

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Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

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