2 more COVID-19 deaths in Nebraska as minority cases rise
State health officials have reported two new deaths from COVID-19 that occurred in the central part of the state, as officials in the Omaha area noted the disproportionately high number of cases among minority populations.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — State health officials have reported two new deaths from COVID-19 that occurred in the central part of the state, as officials in the Omaha area noted the disproportionately high number of cases among minority populations.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported the two deaths Monday — one in Hall County and the other in neighboring Adams County. The new deaths brought the state’s total since the outbreak began to 100.
The number of confirmed cases in the state also increased to 8,572 on Monday, up from 8,315 a day earlier. The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For some infected people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe illness or death. But for most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks.
The increases come as officials with the Douglas County Health Department expressed alarm at the number of Latinos, Asians and black residents becoming infected with the virus.
As of Monday, Latinos made up 43% of Douglas County’s 1,635 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and Asians accounted for more than 15%, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Both of those figures are more than three times the population share of each demographic in the county. Health officials said black residents also are confirmed ill from the new coronavirus in a higher proportion than the population.
Douglas County is nearly 70% white, but 77% of known COVID-19 cases in the county have occurred in people who are not white, officials said.
Douglas County Health Department director, Dr. Adi Pour, said a high percentage of the county’s minority populations work in jobs that put them in regular face-to-face contact with the public, increasing their risk. A higher prevalence of chronic diseases in communities of color also means the virus threatens to develop into serious medical complications or death in those communities, she said.