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Nebraska Joint Information Center Update for Thursday April 30, 2020

Nebraska Joint Information Center Update for Thursday April 30, 2020
RRN/ Nebraska Joint Information Center Update.


April 30, 2020 (LINCOLN, Neb.)

COVID-19 Case Updates

Nebraska                Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard

                              3,784 positive tests —  21,537 negative tests  —   68 deaths

United States         The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:

                              1,031,659 cases  —  60,057 deaths


Globally                 World Health Organization Situation Report

                              3,090,445 cases  — 217,769 deaths

                              Johns Hopkins University of Medicine COVID-19 Dashboard

                              3,255,454 cases  —  231,415 deaths

                              Numbers above were cases available online as of 3:15 p.m. April 30, 2020.


State of Nebraska Updates

Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office

NEW At his 2 p.m. news conference today, Gov. Ricketts thanked Nebraskans for exercising patience as the state made it through 21 days to Stay Home and Stay Healthy.

“We are going to start removing some restrictions, but will still be under the 10-person rule as we go into the month of May,” Ricketts said. He encouraged Nebraskans to continue to limit trips outside the home to only essential trips.

NEW Gov. Ricketts announced that requests for unemployment were down to about 8,000 claims this week from the peak of 24,000 at its highest. He also announced that he was waiving a statute in an effort to speed up the process of paying unemployment claims. He is allowing processors to check only the last place of employment instead of all previous places of employment for people applying for assistance.

According to Nebraska Department of Labor Commissioner John Albin, checking only employees’ most recent employment will speed up the process for issuing unemployment benefits. The state has had more claims in the last two months than it had in the previous three years, Albin said. The department has paid out the equivalent of two years’ worth of claims in the last month.

REMINDER Gov. Ricketts will answer questions from Nebraskans about COVID-19 and its effects on communities across the state, the food supply chain and the reopening of some businesses during another live, one-hour NET News town hall meeting at tonight at  8:30 p.m. CT, on NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR Stations. Along with Gov. Ricketts, questions will be answered by Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Speaking of Nebraska: COVID-19 Town Hall with Governor Ricketts” will be carried on television and radio by NET. It will also be streamed on the NET website, the NET Nebraska app and on Facebook. The program will include subtitles in Spanish.

REMINDER Gov. Ricketts reminded Nebraskans to visit to complete an online assessment. Test Nebraska will assess, test and track COVID-19 cases in the state. The program will help the state increase testing which is important to stop the spread of the virus in the state and especially important when restrictions are lifted. The increased testing will allow only those who test positive to stay home while those who test negative can return to work. Ricketts said the testing will be free for Nebraskans and will give the state real-time information about COVID-19. As part of the plan, Nebraskans are asked to take the #TestNebraskaChallenge and to nominate five friends to take the test. The page is now available in Spanish The first two sites will be Omaha and Grand Island. 110,000 people have signed up on the site.


REMINDER In addition, Gov. Ricketts reminded Nebraskans that the state is on day 21 of 21 Days to Stay Home and Stay Healthy

Please follow these Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy

  1. Stay home. No non-essential errands and no social gatherings. Respect the 10-person limit.
  2. Socially distance your work. Work from home or use the six-foot rule as much as possible in the workplace.
  3. Shop alone and only shop once a week. Do not take family with you.
  4. Help kids follow social distancing. Play at home. No group sports and no playgrounds.
  5. Help seniors stay at home by shopping for them. Do not visit long-term care facilities.
  6. Exercise daily at home or with an appropriately socially-distanced activity.


Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) COVID-19 Information | DHHS News Releases

The guidelines for restaurant reopening’s in Cass, Douglas and Sarpy counties on May 4 are now online at: or in Spanish at:


COVID-19 Dashboard now includes hospitalization data:


Dashboard link:

Other DHHS Links and Information COVID-19 Information | DHHS News Releases

  • Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line: (402) 552-6645.  Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST – every day.
  • State agencies are sharing information using the #NECOVID19 Hashtag
  • DHHS has produced COVID-19 announcements available in:

o   English

o   En Español (Spanish)

o   Thông tin bằng tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

o    Informations en français (French)

o   中文信息 (Chinese)

o    한국어 정보 (Korean),

o   American Sign Language Videos

Military Department

NEW A total of 377 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are supporting COVID-19 response efforts in Nebraska.

Soldiers and Airmen continue to support food packaging with Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha, and food packaging and distribution with Food Bank of Lincoln.

NEW On Saturday, May 2, National Guard personnel will assist in Omaha with Food Bank for the Heartland’s drive-through food collection of donated nonperishable items. More information visit:

Four mobile testing teams continue to provide support to local health districts.

As of April 29, the teams have collected 7,033 test samples in support of 17 health department districts across the state.

NEW B-roll of test sample collection in Dakota City is available, here: Nebraska National Guard will be updating this album with photos throughout the COVID-19 response

Department of Administrative Services

A number of state agencies and private organizations have received inquiries from Nebraska manufacturers that have the capabilities to provide needed medical equipment for hospitals and medical providers. The Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has partnered with the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NMEP) to help organize the manufacturers with these capabilities and connect them with the medical community.

For manufacturers please visit  to register your company and list the products your company is able to produce in short deadlines. For people in the medical community that want to access these companies and order needed supplies, please contact: Doug Carlson, Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Nebraska,, 402-471-0972


Department of Agriculture (NDA)

Nurseries and Garden Centers: The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has created guidance for nurseries and garden centers to help keep customers healthy and to slow the spread of COVID-19. All nurseries and garden centers should first consult with their local health department to ensure that the business is able to meet all local health department guidelines. Nursery and garden center guidance and additional agriculture-related information can be found on NDA’s website


Department of Banking and Finance

The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance is extending its temporary suspension of examinations of financial institutions from April 24 to May 15. This extension will further allow state-chartered banks, credit unions and other financial entities to continue to assist their customers in Paycheck Protection Program requests, loan restructuring and other service items. The department expects to resume offsite examinations in early June 2020. The department’s Statement on Examinations is online here.


Department of Corrections

NDCS has COVID-19 related information on its webpage at


Department of Economic Development

DED is working to inform and assist businesses during Nebraska’s ongoing response to COVID-19. Information for businesses is available on the DED website. DED is committed to serving Nebraskans facing financial challenges during this time, and understands that local economic leaders will play an important role in creating regional solutions for businesses and their workforce. The department’s Field Services Team is working with business leaders in these regions to address ongoing COVID-19 challenges.


Department of Environment and Energy     

NDEE has developed a COVID-19 information webpage that includes a message from the Director, links to state and federal resources, and NDEE-related issues.  Webpage address is:

Additional new items on the NDEE COVID-19 webpage include:

  • NDEE is allowing a temporary period for operations to have more livestock on site than permitted for. This is to help producers who may have issues with hauling livestock to packing plants during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The period should not last past June 1, 2020.
  • Due to current circumstances, there may be instances where dairies are unable to send milk to processors because of a lack of the ability to process the milk.  NDEE is allowing for the disposal of excess milk and milk products in Livestock Waste Control Facilities (LWCF) from dairies during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Municipal lagoons and treatment systems are not included in this exception.
  • NDEE has issued guidance for indoor and outdoor pools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The department recommends pools, spas and spray parks carefully evaluate state and local Directed Health Measures, and close or delay opening until they are lifted.


Department of Insurance

CARES Act payments will have no impact on ACA Marketplace subsidies according to the Nebraska Department of Insurance.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, calls for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make economic impact payments of up to $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 for each qualifying child, adjusted based on income. The federal government has announced that any money received due to the CARES Act does not need to be included as income on an application for individual health insurance coverage through

In addition, payments received through the CARES Act do not impact an individual’s eligibility for financial assistance for health care coverage through the Marketplace or eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For more information, visit IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief or


Department of Labor   and

NEW The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that 8,002 new unemployment insurance claims were filed during the week ending April 25. This is a decrease of more than 33 percent from the previous week when 12,043 initial claims were filed. Spreadsheets showing claims data are available here and will be updated every Thursday.

Initial claims are filed by individuals to request a determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. NDOL processes initial unemployment insurance claims and, if an individual meets eligibility criteria, benefits are paid for each week of continued unemployment.

Claims by Industry  The highest counts of initial claims were in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry (940), which decreased 38.5 percent from the prior week (1,529). All industries had declines in initial claims from the prior week except for Management of Companies and Enterprises and Mining which saw an increase of 25.7 percent and 75 percent respectively. Both of these have very low numbers to begin with so this is not significant at this time.


Filing a Claim    Any worker in a non-paid status due to COVID-19 may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment claims in Nebraska are filed online at The NEworks mobile app is available to download for free. After filing a new initial claim, applicants must certify their eligibility every week that they continue to be unemployed by logging into their NEworks account.  These weekly certifications must be completed even while the new claim is still being processed.  Claim and payment status can also be viewed by logging into the NEworks account.


CARES Act   The federal CARES Act created a temporary program that offers benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits including the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA). The act also increases the amount an individual on regular unemployment or PUA will receive by $600 for every week an individual is unemployed. All individuals who qualify will receive $600 in additional benefits for each eligible week of unemployment through July 25. Workers who have been affected by the pandemic should file a claim for unemployment. NDOL will automatically review every claim that comes in for eligibility under the CARES Act.


Department of Motor Vehicles        DMV news releases


Department of Natural Resources

On April 23, 125 years ago, NeDNR began its mission to safeguard Nebraska’s most precious natural resource through sound partnerships, cooperation and science-based decision making to help grow Nebraska’s future. Our agency continues to ensure that critical water-related information remains available (see Be assured that our staff continue to update vital information, including real-time streamgaging information, during this pandemic.


To support National Flood Insurance Program policyholders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA is extending its 30-day grace period for policy renewals up to 120 days. This is effective for National Flood Insurance Program policies with an expiration date between February 13 – June 15, 2020.

For more information, visit the FEMA website

FEMA also has some guidance on flood insurance claims during this time.  It allows for the claims to be adjusted remotely without an adjustor visiting the property.

Department of Revenue

During the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Nebraska Department of Revenue provides guidance, direction, or pertinent public information such items may be found here. The most current information will be posted to the department’s website under “Featured Information”. Taxpayer Assistance is also available online and by phone, and contact information may be found here.

Department of Transportation

Nebraska Department of Transportation Notes Slight Uptick in Traffic Volumes

The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) announced a slight uptick in weekly traffic volumes. The NDOT has been reporting traffic data since March 1st to track the impact of COVID-19 on statewide traffic volumes. For the week of April 19th through the 25th, statewide traffic volumes were up from last week’s 35 percent decline but still came in at 23 percent below the 2016-2018 average.

The Traffic Count Dashboard will be updated weekly and can be viewed using the following link:

Percent Difference in Weekly Traffic Volume compared to 2016-2018 average

  Rural Highways I-80 West of Lincoln Omaha Streets and  Highways Lincoln Streets and  Highways I-80 Lincoln to Iowa,


I-680, I-480

Remaining Small Urban Streets and  Highways Statewide Total
March 1-7 4 -9 3 4 3 -1 2
March 8-14 -4 -4 -5 -3 -6 -5 -4
March 15-21 -17 -10 -26 -20 -25 -17 -19
March 22-28 -24 -36 -28 -32 -41 -22 -29
March 29-April 4 -22 -28 -33 -30 -40 -28 -28
April 5-11 -20 -32 -32 -31 -41 -29 -28
April 12-18 -29 -38 -39 -37 -44 -34 -35
April 19-25 -14 -26 -27 -27 -36 -27 -23

The column descriptions are as follows:

  • Rural Highway are all non-interstate roads in areas under 5,000 population.
  • Omaha Streets & Highways include all non-interstate roads in Douglas and Sarpy counties.
  • Lincoln Streets & Highways include all non-interstate roads in Lancaster County.
  • Remaining Small Urban Streets & Highways are all roads in cities with over 5,000 population outside of Douglas, Sarpy, and Lancaster counties.  (This includes I-129).
  • Statewide Total is a weighted average of all categories.

The NDOT maintains a system of 67 continuous traffic counters statewide.  These are often called automatic traffic recorders (ATRs).  These counters collect traffic volume and classification data 24 hours per day, seven days per week.  Data is then relayed to NDOT twice per week.

For more information/data about ATRs and links to the Annual ATR and March 2020 reports:


Nebraska Lottery players with prizes up to $19,999 are encouraged to claim by mail. Instructions for claiming prizes by mail can be found at Regional Lottery Claim Centers in Grand Island, Norfolk, North Platte, and Scottsbluff are closed to the public, but Nebraska Lottery headquarters in Lincoln and the Omaha Claim Center are open. Call 402-471-6100 to confirm office hours before claiming a prize in person at these locations.

Game and Parks Commission

In a proactive effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is prohibiting overnight camping at state parks, state recreation areas and wildlife management areas through Friday, May 8 and state park area lodging and cabins are closed through May 8 as well.

For a list of all Game and Parks cancellations, postponements and closures, go to: For more detailed information about how coronavirus cancellations may affect customers, check the Frequently Asked Questions page at or use the Contact Us form at Past news release are available online:

Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NCDHH)

NCDHH has the following VLOGs online relating to COVID-19:

COVID-19: Educational Resources & Communication Access NCDHH Executive Director John Wyvill discusses the importance of ensuring you and your child are prepared and receiving education information during transition to remote-learning.

COVID-19: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Organizations Stress Importance of Communication Access NCDHH Behavioral Health Coordinator Carly Weyers provides information on how to best keep informed with full communication access on announcements related to COVID-19.

COVID-19: NCDHH Offices and Social Distancing Information regarding preventative measures to keep you and the NCDHH team healthy featuring Behavioral Health Coordinator, Carly Weyers.

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

There is no essential staffing list maintained by the State of Nebraska for people who have jobs to perform. Individuals leaving their homes in order to perform an activity or function for their jobs DO NOT need to carry or present any letter, identification card or other paper proving that they are allowed to leave their home.

Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office

The Nebraska State Fire Marshal has developed an electronic burn permit that can be used by fire chiefs across the state beginning today. It allows fire departments to review, approve and issue burn permits without having to meet in-person with those who are requesting them, thus promoting social distancing and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to the firefighting community.

To obtain a PDF copy of the electronic burn permit, or to find out more, a fire chief can contact Assistant State Fire Marshal Doug Hohbein by email at and request one. Requirements for the proper issuance and use of the permit are included on page 2 of the permit.

The issuance and use of electronic burn permits will terminate 30 days after the COVID-19 declared State of Emergency has been withdrawn.”


Nebraska State Patrol

NEW Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol have been distributing facemasks to truck drivers at several locations throughout the state over the last two days. The 100,000 masks were provided by FEMA and DHS. NSP has worked with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Nebraska Trucking Association to coordinate and distribute the masks.

NSP continues to support truck drivers across the state and thanks them for their work to keep store shelves stocked and medical supplies moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Unclaimed Property Division offices are closed to the public. Treasurer’s Office staff are available by phone at 402-471-8497 or 877-572-9688 and will continue to process claims mailed into the Lincoln office or filed online.


Office of the Chief Information Officer Website

Malicious cyber threat actors are capitalizing on the global attention surrounding COVID-19 to facilitate scams, distribute malware, and send phishing emails. We ask all Nebraskans to practice the following safe security habits online:

  • Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19. Tips for Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks:
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. Tips for Using Caution with Email Attachments:
  • Use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
  • Look at the email address, not just the sender. A genuine email from a legitimate organization would have the organization’s name in the domain name, indicating that it is coming from someone at the organization.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations.
  • Look for obvious grammatical errors and be wary of any emails that have implied consequences for failure to comply with demands.


Communications platforms guidance for individuals and organizations

Due to COVID-19, an increasing number of individuals and organizations are turning to communications platforms—such as Webex, Zoom and Microsoft Teams— for online meetings. In turn, malicious cyber actors are hijacking online meetings that are not secured with passwords or that use unpatched software.


Tips for defending against online meeting hijacking

  • Do not make meetings public. Instead, require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
  • Do not share a link to a meeting on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screen sharing options. Change screen sharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications.
  • Ensure telework policies address requirements for physical and information security.

For more information visit:

Public Service Commission

The PSC State 911 Department is also sharing COVID-19 guidance for Nebraska Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs) on our State 911 Department webpage @


Secretary of State’s Office

Register to vote in-person deadline

Friday May 1 is the last day to request an early ballot to vote in the Primary Election

For an early ballot request form

You can fill out the form, take a photo with your phone and email it to your county.

To check on your completed and returned ballot visit

A Word of Caution

Your ballot could be set aside if you have received a ballot in the mail and then changed your mind and decided to go to the polls.

Since you already received a ballot in the mail, you will be given a provisional ballot at the polls.

A provisional ballot is set aside to verify that you have not voted twice. Depending upon the decision your ballot may or may not be counted.

Remember if you have requested and received a ballot to vote by mail, please fill it out, sign it, and return it in the mail, or drop it off in the voter box at your county before the close of polls May 12.


State Partner Updates

American Red Cross

In coordination with the FDA, the Red Cross, along with blood industry partners, is seeking people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease. To learn more, visit


Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Teams

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers from both the Eastern Nebraska/Western Iowa MRC and the Southeast Nebraska MRC have been cooperating to support the Three Rivers Health Department and Public Health Solutions with contact tracing and will continue to do so for the next few weeks.

The Southeast Nebraska MRC is doing its part to conserve masks in the fight against COVID-19 by making their own masks. Approximately 50 masks were homemade to support their volunteers working in the field.

The Central Nebraska MRC assisted in the setup of a drive-thru testing site in Kearney. The Central Nebraska MRC has also been organizing assistance to support residents at Callaway Hospital.

All MRCs and CERT teams remain at the ready throughout the state and are working with their local partners to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nebraska. The MRC Unit Coordinator Leadership has been working with DHHS to help affiliate volunteers to assist in local COVID-19 responses throughout Nebraska. Those interested in volunteering with their local MRC can contact Quinn Lewandowski at

Natural Resources Districts (NRDs):

Want to visit an NRD recreation area? Check for closures and access limitations by visiting:

NRD employees doing field work are essential workers. Landowners and the public should allow them to do their work uninterrupted.


University of Nebraska Medical Center  | Nebraska Medicine

UNMC experts answer questions about COVID-19


Federal Partners

Center for Disease Control and Prevention The CDC provides guidance on daily life and coping during

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)/Center for Disease Control

National Institutes of Health

Federal Emergency Management Agency     Rumor Control     How to Help

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Internal Revenue Service

U.S. Department of Treasury Resources for Financial Relief      Assistance for Small Businesses.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Coronavirus Veteran FAQ

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety and COVID_19      FDA COVID-19 webpage

U.S. Small Business Administration


Other Resources

Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 map with world case information      Johns Hopkins Resource Center.

Mayo Clinic information about COVID-19       COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool      website

World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Pandemic information    Public Advice

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