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Panhandle Moves into Orange Risk Category as Additional COVID-linked Deaths Confirmed | KTIC Radio

Panhandle Moves into Orange Risk Category as Additional COVID-linked Deaths Confirmed

Panhandle Moves into Orange Risk Category as Additional COVID-linked Deaths Confirmed

Panhandle public health officials said Monday the COVID risk dial for the region moved down well into the orange category, however seven additional COVID-related deaths had been confirmed.

The additional death confirmations bring the total deaths in the Panhandle from the illness to 104, with 137 new positive test results being returned since reporting last Thursday.

PPHD Director Kim Engel noted every county in the Panhandle had entered the orange risk category, with the exception of Deuel and Grant Counties, and five communities, Morrill, Hemingford, Bridgeport, Chappell and Hyannis, remained in the red category. “Keep up the good work everybody, things are simmering down a bit, and that’s great news, especially as we enter into the holidays,” said Engel.

Officials said the latest figures also included a lower positivity rate of 40.1 percent over the last week, active hospitalizations at 27 and a doubling time of 42 days for new positive results from Nov. 7 to the 19th of this month.

The deaths are being announced as follows:

  • Cheyenne County male in his 80s
  • Morrill County female in her 80s
  • Scotts Bluff County
    • Two females: one in her 80s, one in her 90s
    • Two males: one in his 70s, one in his 90s
  • Sheridan County female in her 70s

“We wish to express our sincerest condolences with the friends and loved ones in the loss of our fellow Panhandle residents. We send you peace and comfort especially during this holiday season,” said Kim Engel, Panhandle Public Health District Director.

As we enter a holiday time rich with tradition, consider how you and your family can make the most of it while keeping family, friends, and loved ones safe. Call family and friends to gather thoughts and ideas for virtual games, cooking, decorating, or opening presents.

This is the year for a breather. The holidays can be exciting and full of joy but remember how crazy and stressful the holidays can be? Long travel days, endless to-do lists, extensive cooking, and coordinating schedules for all of the family gatherings normally produce a tremendous amount of stress. Consider how this year provides the opportunity to focus on the most important part of the holidays.

Practice gratitude. There is still much to be thankful for, try to regularly identify and share with others some of the things that you are most grateful for: you and your family’s health, a job, music, friends, and more.

More tips can be found on the Mental Health America website at

Unified Command confirms 137 more cases of COVID in the Panhandle since last reporting on Thursday, December 17. Recoveries are available on the Panhandle dashboard  at The investigations are underway, all close contacts will be quarantined.

All Ages: 137
County Cases
Banner 0
Box Butte 15
Cheyenne 26
Dawes 10
Deuel 3
Garden 0
Grant 0
Kimball 13
Morrill 6
Scotts Bluff 53
Sheridan 10
Sioux 1


Exposure Type
Community 47%
Close Contact 37%
Travel 0%
Under Investigation 16%


March 2-December 21, 2020

  • Total Tests Conducted: 29,261
  • Positive: 7,300
  • Last 14 days cases: 652
  • Last week cases: 307
  • Last week’s positivity rate: 40.1%
  • Deaths: 104
  • Active Hospitalizations: 27
  • Total Cumulative Hospitalizations: 459
  • Doubling time (November 7-December 19): 42 days
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