Jul 22, 2020 5:46 PM

Nebraska sees surge in positive coronavirus cases this week

Posted Jul 22, 2020 5:46 PM

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska has seen a surge of people testing positive for coronavirus this week, according to state health officials.

The state health department's online virus tracker on Wednesday showed more than 600 new cases of the virus since the beginning of the week, including 264 cases on Monday and 343 on Tuesday. The state's total stood at 23,190 by Wednesday. The site also shows nine COVID-19 deaths so far this week, bringing the state's total to 310 since the outbreak began.

The increases come as at least one Omaha-area health system reported a testing policy change in the face of testing supply shortages. CHI Health announced Tuesday it would suspend its policy of testing patients for the virus ahead of elective procedures.

The system said Abbott Laboratories, which manufactures the supplies CHI Health uses for coronavirus testing, can't meet current demand for the supplies and informed CHI that it would limit shipment of those supplies over then next four to five weeks.

"By suspending pre-procedural tests, we are able to preserve tests for people experiencing symptoms in the communities we serve," CHI Health said in a news release.

CHI Health centers will continue to perform elective surgeries, despite the suspension in pre-procedure testing.