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Nebraska Joint Information Center Update for Tuesday May 19, 2020

Nebraska Joint Information Center Update for Tuesday May 19, 2020
Gov. Ricketts (podium) provides an update at this afternoon’s press briefing.

Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy:

  1. Stay home. Do not take unnecessary trips outside the home. 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.

    COVID-19 Case Updates

    Nebraska                 Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard

                           10,625 positive tests —  59,359 negative tests  —   125 deaths

                           

Leading Counties (Cities) Hospital Beds
Douglas (Omaha)  

2,446

Staffed Beds

3,868

Dakota (South Sioux City)

1,476

Percent of Beds Available

46%

Hall (Grand Island)

1,433

Percent of ICU Available

 40%

Dawson (Lexington) 

892

Percent of Vents Available

77%

Lancaster (Lincoln)

811

 

 

 

25 counties report no cases

10 counties have only 1 case

 

 

Source: DHHS Dashboard

Colfax (Schuyler)

528

Platte (Columbus)

462

Saline (Crete)

432

Sarpy (Bellevue, Papillion)

349

Madison (Norfolk, Madison)

269

Dodge (Fremont)

266

Adams (Hastings)

252

United States         Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

                              1,504,830 cases  —  90,340 deaths

Globally                 World Health Organization Situation Report

                              4,731,458 cases  — 316,169 deaths

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine COVID-19 Dashboard

                              4,876,906 cases  —  321,999 deaths         

 

State of Nebraska Updates

Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office https://governor.nebraska.gov

NEW At his 2 p.m. news conference today, Gov. Pete Ricketts shared what Nebraska is doing to tackle COVID-19 in the state in seven main areas:

  1. Testing – By continuing to expand testing capacity, Nebraska can better identify where the virus is.
  2. Contact tracing – The state continues to ramp up contact tracing as a tool to help control the spread of COVID-19. Nebraska is currently using state teammates to help local health departments with contact tracing and recently added a private firm from Omaha to assist with this important task. Nebraska’s goal is to reach 1,000 contact tracers in the near future.
  3. Lodging – Nebraska has identified several places for people with high risk jobs to stay so they can keep their families, friends and coworkers healthy.
  4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – The state has purchased and distributed a large number of PPE. Nebraska now has a 60-90 day supply of PPE for people in need.
  5. At risk populations – Nebraska continues to work with state agencies and local health departments to identify populations that are more at risk of contracting COVID-19 and to develop additional plans to keep those at risk populations safe.
  6. Guidelines – The state continues to develop guidelines to advise businesses on how best to operate safely during this pandemic.
  7. Hospital capacity – All of these steps help preserve hospital capacity which is how Nebraska is winning the fight against COVID-19.

    The Governor then introduced, Catherine Lang, state director of the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, to talk about the results of a recent survey of business owners and non-profits in Nebraska and the effect that COVID-19 has had on their businesses. This survey — a partnership between the Governor’s Office, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the University of Nebraska and the state Chambers of Commerce — was launched April 15, and the results are in NBDC’s Nebraska Business Response Survey Regarding COVID-19 report. Approximately 4,500 business owners and non-profits responded, and 87% of those said that COVID-19 was impacting their businesses in a negative way. Lang said that Nebraska businesses and non-profits are actively working to keep their employees and maintain the number of hours those employees are working. Business owners and non-profits listed their three biggest concerns as the financial impact of COVID-19, the duration of this evert, and a decrease in customer confidence and spending. These are incredibly challenging economic times, Lang said. NBDC’s survey report is available online at nbcd.unomaha.edu.

    Reminder: During a one-hour NET News town hall meeting airing at 8:30 p.m. CT, Thursday, May 21, on Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations, Gov. Ricketts will update Nebraskans about the spread of COVID-19 and how contact tracing can be an effective tool to reduce infection rates. Gov. Ricketts will be joined by Dr. Angela Hewlett, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and medical director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, and Felicia Quintana-Zinn, deputy director, Division of Public Health, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

    Visit TestNebraska.com

    As the state continues its battle against coronavirus, every Nebraskan can help to keep Nebraska healthy and get Nebraska moving again. Crush the curve and beat the virus by going to TestNebraska.com and taking a quick five-minute assessment. This assessment will help determine where testing needs to occur. TestNebraska is one way the state is scheduling people for an appointment to get tested. Please take five minutes and go to TestNebraska.com to get assessed. This week testing sites are open in Lincoln and Omaha, Monday through Saturday; in West Point and Thedford, today (Tuesday); and in Dakota City and Scottsbluff on Thursday and Friday.

    Tests are being performed free of charge even if an individual does not have health insurance. Additionally, no one will be denied treatment for COVID-19 because of an inability to pay. The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal where health care providers who have tested or treated individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis can submit claims for reimbursement.

    Nebraska Emergency Management Agency         https://nema.nebraska.gov/news

    NEMA continues to operate the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) with conference calls each week among the emergency support function coordinators, weekly calls with county emergency managers and daily Joint Information Center calls with public information officers.

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

    Guidance documents are available at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Nebraska-Guidance-Documents.aspx

    NEW Join Bernie Hascall, System of Care administrator, DHHS Division of Behavioral Health, and Nathan Busch, associate vice president of Systems of Care and Native American Connections for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. on DHHS’s Facebook page, as they discuss signs your child might need behavioral health assistance.

    Other DHHS Links and Information

  • 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:
  • COVID-19 Resources for Health Care Providers and Related Audiences

    Military Department

    NEW A total of 608 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have supported COVID-19 response efforts in Nebraska to date, and 423 are on duty currently for COVID-19 response missions.

    NEW Mobile testing teams have reorganized and consolidated from six teams down to four. Four mobile teams and two smaller support teams (supporting CHI Test Nebraska sites) continue to support local health districts. As of May 18, the teams have collected 26,353 test samples in support of all 19 of Nebraska’s health department districts.

    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.

    The Nebraska Air National Guard completed a flyover salute to Nebraska’s heroes today, flying over more than 30 communities and hospitals across the state.

    The Nebraska National Guard will be updating this album with photos throughout the COVID-19 response.

    Nebraska Department of Transportation

    The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) announced that, for the seventh straight week, statewide traffic volumes are down over 20 percent. NDOT has been reporting traffic data since March 1 to track the impact of COVID-19 on statewide traffic volumes. NDOT noted that traffic volumes have leveled off at around 20 percent below the 2016-2018 average after peaking at 35 percent in mid-April.

    The Traffic Count Dashboard will be updated weekly and can be viewed using the following link: https://gis.ne.gov/portal/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/4473552a18f34645ad0dede3ae1105ce

    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 https://go.unl.edu/criticalmanufacturing  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, doug.carlson@nebraska.gov, 402-471-0972

    Department of Agriculture (NDA) nda.nebraska.gov

    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. Nursery and garden center guidance and additional agriculture-related information can be found on NDA’s website atwww.nda.nebraska.gov/COVID-19.

    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 corrections.nebraska.gov

    NDCS has COVID-19 related information on its webpage at https://corrections.nebraska.gov/ndcs-coronavirus-health-update.

    Department of Economic Development   https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/nded-covid19/

    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               http://dee.ne.gov

    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: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/onWeb/COVID

    Additional new items on the NDEE COVID-19 webpageinclude:

  • NDEE has partnered with Nebraska lending institutions on possible loan relief for Dollar and Energy Saving Loans due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. If a borrower needs extra time to make payments, the borrower works with the lending institution to defer payments. Provided the lender meets conditions established by NDEE, the borrower can receive extended time to repay DESL loans. For more information, go to: https://neo.ne.gov/programs/loans/lenders/lenders-covid-19.html
  • NDEE has developed a new guidance document, “Emergency Disposal of Animal Carcasses Associated with a Non-Disease-Related Mass Mortality Event” to help Nebraska livestock producers plan to deal with catastrophic animal mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The URL to the mass mortality guidance page is http://dee.ne.gov/publica.nsf/pages/20-006.
  • 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.
  • 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

    Issued a consumer alert, “Medicare Enrollment Due to Loss of Employer Coverage.”  The alert provides guidance on how Medicare-eligible individuals can enroll in Medicare when they no longer have employer-sponsored health insurance following job loss due to the impact of COVID-19.

    Department of Labor            NEworks.nebraska.gov and dol.nebraska.gov

    The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced that unemployment insurance benefit payments reached a record high during the week ending May 9. Total benefits paid were nearly $104 million, including regular benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments. That week also saw 24,218 new individuals receive benefit payments. The report on Nebraska’s unemployment rate for April is due to be released on Friday.

    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 NEworks.nebraska.gov. The NEworks mobile app is available to download for free. Employers who suspect a worker is refusing a job in order to continue collecting unemployment benefits may report these workers to ndol.uiworkrefusal@nebraska.gov.  Workers with pre-existing conditions should work with their employers before being called back to work.

    Department of Motor Vehicles        DMV news releases

    Gov. Ricketts’ executive order 20-05 extends the expiration date of all valid driver’s licenses, CDLs, state IDs, titles, and registrations due to expire on or after March 1st. All credentials will remain valid until 30 days after the order has been lifted. While nobody is required to renew their license or registrations, online services are available at dmv.nebraska.gov for those who wish to do so. Drive tests are not being provided at any locations statewide; however, some offices do remain open for walk in services.

    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 https://dnr.nebraska.gov/.) 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 https://nfipservices.floodsmart.gov/

    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.

    Game and Parks Commission http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/

    Nebraskans may begin enjoying recreational vehicle camping by reservation only at select state park areas starting May 20. Park areas will be selected based on where social distancing and group-size recommendations can be maintained for public health.

    State designated beach and swimming areas will be closed until further notice, in part due to recent incidents at multiple state park venues. All other current closures to facilities will be extended through May 31.

    “We sympathize with those who have been affected by this virus and the rippling effects of trying to contain it, and we appreciate the patience and understanding of people who are passionate about camping,” Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas said.

    Our park grounds remain open for day-use activities, such as fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.

    For more information:
    http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2020/05/some-state-park-area-rv-camping-opportunities-to-be-restored/

    Lottery   https://nelottery.com/homeapp/article/4220/display

    The Nebraska Lottery mobile app has been updated with a Ticket Scanner feature. Players can check their Scratch and Lotto tickets for prizes and save a trip to a retailer. Visit nelottery.com/mobileapp for more information. 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 https://nelottery.com/homeapp/article/4220/display 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.

    Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NCDHH)  https://ncdhh.nebraska.gov/

    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 doug.hohbein@nebraska.gov and request one. 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

    Nebraska State Troopers continue to assist the state’s COVID-19 response by providing on-site security at several testing locations throughout the state. This effort include several teams of troopers who have traveled throughout the state during the past several weeks. Troopers have also taken on the task of transporting test samples collected at various testing locations to the state testing lob at St. Elizabeth’s Regional Medical Center as part of the Test Nebraska initiative. Troopers and Investigators also remain focused on the mission of keeping Nebraska safe. If anyone needs assistance on the road or sees an impaired or dangerous driver, they can call *55 or 800-525-5555 to reach the NSP Highway Helpline.

    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

    Public Service Commission — The PSC is reminding natural gas customers that a moratorium suspending residential disconnections of natural gas services for non-payment for Black Hills Energy and NorthWestern Energy customers remains in place through June 1, 2020. Read more @ http://tiny.cc/PSCReminders

    State Partner Updates

    American Red Cross —The Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 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 RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.

    Nebraska Food Security Task Force  —Helping Nebraskans who now need to rely upon food banks, pantries and school lunch programs for their next meal is the goal of the Nebraska Food Security Task Force. People who could previously meet their food needs are now temporarily unable to do so. To donate: visit the Food Bank for the Heartland which serves Nebraska and western Iowa at https://donate.foodbankheartland.org or the Food Bank of Lincoln which serves 16 counties in Southeast Nebraska at https://www.lincolnfoodbank.org/donate/.

    Nebraska Impact and its COVID-19 Relief Fund  — has raised more than $340,000 to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in Nebraska. The fund has distributed more than $250,000 worth of food thus far to people in some of Nebraska’s hardest hit communities. To donate to the fund, visit https://neimpact.org/. In additionNebraskans can visit the Nebraska Impact website for information on donating cloth facemasks to Nebraska’s vulnerable populations. Information on making “sew and no-sew masks” is available at https://neimpact.org/masks. Masks can be mailed to Nebraska Impact, 201 N Eighth St., Suite 215, Lincoln, NE 68508. To arrange a pickup in the Lincoln or Omaha area, email masks@neimpact.org.

    Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Teams

    Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are working with local partners to respond to COVID-19 in Nebraska. Those interested in volunteering with their local MRC can contact Quinn Lewandowski at quinn.lewandowski@nebraska.gov.

    Natural Resources Districts (NRDs):

    Want to visit an NRD recreation area? Check for closures and access limitations by visiting: www.nrdnet.org/recreation.

    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 https://www.unmc.edu/coronavirus/media.html

     

    Federal Partners

 

Federal Emergency Management Agency       www.fema.gov     Rumor Control     How to Help

Center for Disease Control and Prevention     Guidance on daily life and coping

Federal Bureau of Prisons       https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/index.jsp

Internal Revenue Service        https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments

National Institutes of Health    https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/

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

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)/Center for Disease Control             https://faq.coronavirus.gov/

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 www.SBA.gov/Coronavirus

 

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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