Weekly COVID-19 cases in panhandle down slightly

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the panhandle dipped slightly week-to-week, according to the latest data from Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD). 

Monday afternoon, health officials said there had been 242 new cases confirmed in the panhandle in the past week. This is lower than the 295 cases reported last week. 

It's the first time in six weeks the number of cases announced has decreased from the previous week. 

Of the cases announced this week, 106 are from Scotts Bluff County while the rest of the panhandle accounts for the other 136. 

No new deaths were reported, keeping the region's number of fatalities associated with the virus at 200. 

Meanwhile, the vaccination rate in the panhandle continues its slow climb. Just over 35 percent of the area's population is now fully vaccinated, according to the state health department. 

As a whole, Nebraska's population crossed the 50 percent vaccination mark in the past week.