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Rural Nebraska sees an increase in COVID-19 cases

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:46 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Four Corners Health Department, which covers a four-county region roughly 14% of Lancaster County, has seen 414 cases in the last two weeks. That’s about 1% of the people who live there.

Dwight is a village right in the corner of Butler County. Several members of the community said that coronavirus has made the village a ghost town.

It’s a bright sign smack in the middle of town. The bar and restaurant across the street are closed.

'There’s been a lot of cases this last week and a half with this COVID-19," said Jim Mastny, the Fire Chief of the Dwight Volunteer Fire Department “It’s just kind of like turning on a faucet. It’s been hitting a lot of people.”

Mastny is one of 98 people in the last two weeks diagnosed with COVID-19 in Butler County, a county of just 8,000 people.

“My neighbor two blocks down the road here, Irvin Cidlick, he went in on a Tuesday and Thursday," said Mastny. "He passed away. He was a good, close friend of mine and pillar of the community.”

Four Corners Health said the virus can spread easily through small communities. Especially in churches, restaurants and bars. And it’s hard to stop.

“A lot of the infections are happening because people are having gatherings," said Laura McDougall, the Director of Four Corners Health Department. "COVID fatigue we’re seeing, but it really does reflect when we see how the numbers are accelerating.”

Right now, those sick in Dwight are home recovering.

“As more people found at they were COVID positive, they just decided maybe it’s best if everybody starts distancing themselves more so than they were before and try to get this thing under control,” said Dan Brecka, the Rescue Squad Chief in Dwight.

The people of Dwight said while they’re uncertain about the future, they’re certain they’ll get through it together.

“You would like to go visit knock on their door; but COVID has changed things," Brecka said. "COVID has probably changed things forever.”

Members of the community urged people to take the pandemic seriously by wearing masks and follow social distancing guidelines and avoiding gatherings.

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