Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Some Restrictions Easing

But About 300 COVID-19 Cases Nearby In Morgan County, Colo.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Rickets announced some easing of the restrictions in relation to COVID-19.

On May 4, some establishments will be back in business. Religious services, funerals and weddings will be allowed on May 4 and do not have to follow the 10-person rule.

In churches, members of households will be able to sit together but must maintain 6 feet distance from other churchgoers from other households. No passing of items between church goers will be allowed. Additional guidelines will be released prior to the May 4 opening.

Elective surgeries are back on the schedule and restaurants will be opened with restrictions.

Bars and movie theaters will not open yet, but barbershops, salons, tattoo parlors and massage therapy businesses will be reopening with restrictions.

Even though Nebraska has not hit its peak, according to some projections, Ricketts said, “Models based on data are not predictive and the healthcare system in the state is not being overwhelmed.”

Adding to the concerns of families, reports indicate that there could be a meat shortage, but according Troy Harper from Main Street Market, “We are good, we’re good.”

Harper said he was confident that they had plenty of meat and that their supplier was not affected by the closure of some packing plants.

Regionally, the Panhandle of Nebraska had a total of 45 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday morning with one or two cases being reported daily.

But just to the south of Kimball in Morgan County, Colo., the number of cases has grown rapidly beginning about April 1. On Monday evening, Morgan County had a total of 328 cases with 15 deaths. Mary Brumage, public relations officer from Northeast Colorado Health Department, explained that Morgan County was previously identified as a “hot spot” due to three factors: low income, processing plants and an older population.

Brumage also indicated that the processing plants were doing “everything and anything” that they have been asked to do to control the disease.

“Once it is in a community, it is hard to contain,” she said.

Kimball County continues to try to contain the virus as additional events in June have been canceled.

The Kimball Ranch Rodeo Committee decided in the best interest of its spectators and participants that they cancel the ranch rodeo. The committee has worked hard to promote the annual event and said they are truly disappointed but looking forward to the 2021 Kimball Ranch Rodeo.

Banner County Historical Days celebrated on the first Saturday in June has also been canceled. Sponsored by the Banner County Museum, Historical Days has included in the past a pancake feed, parade, games, food and an open house for the 11-building complex.

So much planning and organizing had been done for the Kimball High School reunion, which was scheduled for Farmer’s Day weekend but has been postponed until 2021.

In other COVID-19 related news, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor statistics in the time span from March 21 through April 18, just shy of 95,000 initial claims have been filed for unemployment in the state.

The most recent unemployment rate for Nebraska is 4.2%, while the national rate is 4.4%. Kimball County has had a total of 73 initial claims with the data beginning on March 21 and running through the middle of April. The week of April 4 topped all other weeks with 30 initial claims being filed in Kimball County.

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