Nebraska’s COVID-19 case count continued its two-month climb last week and now is growing faster than such infections nationally.
The state recorded 2,354 new COVID cases during the week ending Friday, up from 1,671 the previous week, according to figures compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The steepness of case growth in Nebraska was likely exaggerated by the delay in reporting some cases the previous week due to the Memorial Day weekend. Still, Nebraska cases are now growing faster than the nation as a whole, as the country has seen case numbers dip since late May. Cases were down last week in 29 states.
Nebraska’s per-capita case rate remains low — 40th among the states and a third below the U.S. rate.
Hospitalizations due to COVID were up 20% in Nebraska last week, hitting a daily average of 106. The 130 Nebraskans hospitalized as of Friday was the highest figure since late March.
That increase also supports the notion that more cases are occurring than are being officially recorded, as health officials have noted. More people are using at-home tests, the results of which aren’t publicly reported. Of those that were reported last week, between 15% and 20% were positive, according to CDC.
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Dr. Mark Rupp, chief of the infectious diseases division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said last week that the community has 10 times more cases now than at this time last summer, and that still is likely an underestimate.
The state also recorded 10 additional deaths, bringing the toll of confirmed and probable deaths to 4,294 for the two-year pandemic. The state has recorded more than 488,000 cases overall.