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Six new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Friday, including the first case in Garden County.

According to Scotts Bluff County Health Director, Paulette Schnell, the male in his 50s who was determined to contract the virus through community spread.

“That means we were not able to identify where they picked it up,” said Schnell during Friday’s briefing. She added it wasn’t deemed travel related because the man “did not travel outside of the state.”

Schnell said there is a community exposure site tied to the case. Individuals are asked to contact Panhandle Public Health Department’s 24/7 phone line at 308-262-5764 if they were at SNS Restaurant in Oshkosh on the following dates:

— May 21, 5-6:30 p.m.

— May 23, 5-6 p.m.

— May 26, 12-12:30 p.m.

Exposure is defined as at least 15 minutes less than 6 feet apart. Officials said the restaurant was named an exposure site because the 6-foot requirement between tables wasn’t being maintained.

“No matter where you are as a customer or a business owner … you really need to be thinking about that six foot distance between you and another person,” said Schnell.

The other five cases were identified in Scotts Bluff County. One, a male in his 70s, was also deemed to be a case of community spread. The remaining cases, two male teens, a female in her teens and a female in her 40s, were deemed close contacts to previous cases.

Schnell also announced two new recovered patients – one in Scotts Bluff County and on in Morrill County.

PPHD director Kim Engel announced that Test Nebraska will be returning to the panhandle to carry out additional tests.

They are anticipating testing events in Chadron on Wednesday, Alliance on Thursday, Scottsbluff on Friday and Saturday and Sidney on Sunday. Drive-thru testing is tentatively scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. until noon in each community, however specific locations have not been announced.

Engel said more information should be available early next week. She reminded those who have been exposed or who are symptomatic to contact their doctor or PPHD to set up testing, rather than waiting for a testing event.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

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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