After the long Memorial Day weekend, the Panhandle Public Health District Tuesday revealed 14 new positive tests for COVID-19 in the Panhandle.

The new cases bring the region’s total since March 2 to 105 positive tests. Of those 105, 32 cases remain active with 73 recovered. Scotts Bluff County has 73 confirmed cases with 44 of those recovered.

New cases reported Tuesday include five Scotts Bluff County cases that were community spread — a man in his 70s, a woman in her 70s, a man in his 60s, a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 40s. The other cases were all close contacts of a previous positive case. They included a Morrill County woman in her 30s and a Box Butte County man in his 20s. The remaining close contact cases were all in Scotts Bluff County — a man in his 50s, a woman in her 40s, a woman in her 50s, a woman in her 30s, a man in his 30s, a man in his 20s and a teenage male.

Test Nebraska resulted in six of the new confirmed cases. Authorities reported that 411 individuals were tested through the program in Scottsbluff Thursday and Friday.

Under new directed health measures coming out June 1, any events where 500 or more people are expected or any venue capable of holding 500 or more people are to fill out a survey/questionnaire at Information is available there from the CDC and the WHO to help with planning for events, PPHD director Kim Engel said.

“It will help you immensely to think about all the things you should be thinking about,” Engel said. “In it, you will see things like patron education. How are you going to let people know who are coming to your event what’s to be expected and what to expect?”

Engel said the result will be a plan for the event, whether it be a graduation, rodeo of other types of events. Information will be available on social distancing, sanitizing, how to get people in and out of the event and other issues.

“We really feel like it’s more than just a survey, it’s an educational tool,” she said.

PPHD officials indicated that there were no new community spread sites to announce.

“Honestly, those are going to become fewer and fewer,” Engel said. “Partly because so many of our cases are a close contact to a previous case, so they’ve already been in quarantine. And also because our exposure definition continues to change. Now it’s 15 minutes as opposed to 10. Just think about when you’re out and about how long that is. We should all operate that we could become exposed at any time. Wash your hands. Wear a mask.”

Officials were unable to provide an update on how many individuals are currently hospitalized, but said it would likely be provided Wednesday.

Directed health measures are not printed in full in this article, so businesses and entities can get the full text of the directives on the governor’s website, or on the PPHD website,

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


Mark McCarthy is a reporter with the Star-Herald and oversees the Gering Courier as editor. He can be reached at 308-632-9049 or via email at

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