Data Shows Dakota County's COVID-19 Cases Slow

May 18, 2020, 3:13 p.m. ·


New cases of COVID-19 in a northeast Nebraska county that was hard hit by the disease are starting to slow.

The Dakota County Health Department reported 54 news cases COVID-19 Monday, making a total of 1,565, according to a press release.

The Sioux City Journal reported 669 employees at the Tyson Foods plant in Dakota City tested positive in late April. According to press releases from the county health department, new cases have been reported most days since. After initial testing at the meatpacking plant, the positive cases have slowed for the most part. The week ending May 9 totaled 435 positive cases, compared to the week ending May 16, which totaled 102 COVID-19 cases.

Joni Albrecht, a state senator who represents Dakota County and two others in the area, said social distancing restrictions under directed health measures in Dakota County will likely stay around for a while.

“We have to watch all the numbers every day, as they come in, before you could say whether or not Dakota (County) would be, you know, lifted their health measures," Albrecht said. "I don’t believe – knowing that there are that many cases out there – they would be lifting anything anytime too soon up here."

Albrecht said she expects not all tests have been reported. Once they have been, she said, decisions about reopening can be made. The current directed health measure for Dakota County expires on May 31.

Dakota County still ranks as the second highest county for cases per resident, according to the New York Times, as 1 in 13 Dakota County residents has the tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The Tyson Foods plant in Dakota City, which employs 4,300 people, paused production for a few days in early May to deep clean, according to the company, and resumed production on May 7 with new safety measures in place.