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A look back at COVID-19 in Nebraska

Updated: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:10 AM CST
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NEBRASKA (KTIV) -- Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case in Nebraska. This month marks the year anniversary of a lot of milestones for Nebraska and Siouxland.

March 6 was the exact date a 36-year-old woman from Omaha was confirmed a positive case. The first Siouxland case would be reported five days later on March 11 in Knox County. Health officials said the Knox county case was likely a result of community spread.

“As far as we know, that this individual was not traveling, so the experience of picking up the virus while traveling we understand that that is not the case,” said Roger Wiese, NCDHD Executive Director.

Back in Siouxland, just a few days later, South Sioux City schools announced they would close for ten days. This came in the days following recommendations from Gov. Pete Ricketts. Superintendent Todd Strom made the announcement, closing schools from March 17th through the 27th. At the time, few people expected that those students would be gone for many more weeks and months to come.

By this point, 23 positive cases had been reported in Nebraska.

Gov. Ricketts began issuing Directed Health Measures on March 19 in hopes of slowing down the virus. Those measures would impose restrictions on businesses and limit the size of gatherings.

Restaurants and bars were required to close their dining areas and move to takeout, delivery and curbside service only. And all school-related extracurricular activities would be canceled. The extent of these restrictions varied from county to county.

The first death in Nebraska would be confirmed on March 27. By that point, over 170 Nebraskans had contracted the virus.

In the months that followed, many more safety precautions, mandates, and cancellations would be put in place. Nebraska would see it’s peak on November 9 with 3,376 positive cases reported that day.

On December 11, the U.S. gave the first COVID-19 vaccine the green light and by December 14, the first dose was administered in Nebraska, according to the state’s health department. Today, 484,169 people in Nebraska have received either the first or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those vaccinations will continue to grow. The state of Nebraska is now working through Phase 1B with the governor saying he hopes to move into Phase 2A very soon.

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