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Nebraska confirms 1st case of coronavirus – a woman who traveled to the UK

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Posted at 4:02 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 19:02:16-05

OMAHA, Neb. – Nebraska has i ts first positive case of the new coronavirus, officials said Friday afternoon.

The patient is a Douglas County woman who was traveling through the United Kingdom.

Doctors say the woman is 36 years old. She went to the emergency room on Thursday and had a respiratory infection that had been going on for 12 days. She is considered to be "very seriously ill," officials say.

The information on the case was given out through a joint phone call news conference with Gov. Pete Ricketts and state officials and medical personnel Friday afternoon.

Dr. Robert Penn, a physician at Methodist Hospital, said on the call that the woman became ill on February 25, while still in the U.K., and returned to Omaha on February 27. The woman went to the Methodist ER on Thursday, where she was tested for coronavirus. The test came back positive on Friday.

Gov. Ricketts said he does not know if the woman was out in the community or stayed at home prior to going to the ER.

Officials are looking back to people who may have had contact with her to see which people may have been exposed.

“As we receive news of the first case of coronavirus in our state, I continue to urge Nebraskans to practice healthy habits to avoid transmitting germs,” said Gov. Ricketts in a statement. “Like a snowstorm, Nebraskans should be planning in case they need to be at home for an extended period, and they should also plan in case schools close. At the same time, I want to assure Nebraskans that State leaders and medical professionals across Nebraska are doing their utmost to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on public health.”

Click here to learn more about the virus.

This story was originally published by staff at KMTV.