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Scott Sorensen, a physician assistant, talks with a visitor at OneWorld Community Health Center in South Omaha.

Another 89 people in Douglas County have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Friday, but the percentage of positive tests is declining.

The Douglas County Health Department also reported three new deaths for a total of 27 since the coronavirus outbreak began in March. All three were older than 85.

Seven residents at the Life Care Center of Elkhorn nursing home have died in the last week, presumably of COVID-19, but Health Department spokesman Phil Rooney said not all those deaths have been counted.

When it comes to the deaths of seniors or residents at long-term care centers who may have had other health problems, Rooney said, the department wants to make sure the attending doctor or coroner confirms it as a COVID-19-related death. It may take several days for officials to receive death certificates.

This week through Thursday, 4,861 people had been tested, and 520 of those tested positive, meaning the rate of positive test results is 10.7%. That’s down from a high of 23% at the beginning of May.

As of Thursday night, 195 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 were hospitalized, and 42 were on a ventilator for breathing support.

In Nebraska, health officials reported 147 deaths and 11,662 cases as of Friday, an increase of 237 from the day before.

At a town hall with Gov. Pete Ricketts on Thursday night, Dr. Angela Hewlett, medical director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, said the growing number of hospitalizations in Douglas County is not an encouraging trend. Still, local hospitals reported Thursday that 415 medical beds were open and 244 ventilators were available.

Douglas County has counted a total of 2,928 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with 21,138 tests administered. A little more than 600 people have recovered from COVID-19.

One new death was also reported Friday in the Grand Island area by the Central District Health Department, which oversees Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties. Lancaster County reported 38 new cases Friday, bringing Lincoln’s total to 1,005 with seven deaths. Pottawattamie County reported nine new COVID-19 cases and its fourth death.

Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

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