U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website reports 395,011 COVID-19 cases in the United States and 12,754 deaths (as of April 7 at 4 p.m.) Cases have been reported in all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These statistics include both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.
In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.
Nebraska As of April 8 at noon, the current case numbers for Nebraska are:
519 positive tests — 7,442 negative tests — 12 deaths
Numbers now include negative results from NPHL and commercial labs. Both state and local health departments are testing and publicly reporting their cases. In the event of a discrepancy between DHHS cases and cases reported by local public health officials, data reported by the local health department should be considered the most up-to-date.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) data dashboard provides daily updates to the state’s COVID-19 case totals and is online at http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus
State of Nebraska Updates
Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office https://governor.nebraska.gov/
NEW At his 2 p.m. news conference today, Gov. Ricketts said he expects that Nebraska will reach the peak of COVID-19 cases at the end of April. In the meantime, Gov. Ricketts asked that all Nebraskans follow social distancing guidelines. He reminded Nebraskans to Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay Connected and to follow the statewide Directed Health Care Measure (DHM) imposed for all counties and any local DHMs ordered by communities.
NEW Passover begins tonight, it is Holy Week and Sunday is Easter. Gov. Ricketts asked people to celebrate the holidays with the people in their household rather than in larger gatherings as they have in years past. Stay home and do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.
NEW Gov. Ricketts proclaimed Sunday as a Statewide Day of Prayer. He asked that Nebraskans pray for the people being impacted by COVID-19, for people who are ill, for nurses and doctors, police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and for people in nursing homes.
NEW Nebraska bankers in 160 banks are working to process applications for the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protections Program. Bankers are working hard to get those applications in. More than 7,837 applications have been submitted for $1.47 billion dollars for companies here in the state. The program is designed to help businesses stay open and retain their people.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will answer questions during a one-hour NET News town hall meeting about COVID-19 and our state’s response. This special episode of the discussion program “Speaking of Nebraska” will air Thursday at 8:30 p.m. CT on NET, NET Radio, and streaming online.
Last week’s episode prompted hundreds of questions from Nebraskans. What questions do you have?
Call in during the program to ask your question:
Also people can ask their questions on a form in the below link: http://netnebraska.org/article/news/1213658/send-us-your-questions-covid-19-town-hall-gov-ricketts
NEW 10 Actions for Every Nebraskan to be Taking Now to Slow Spread of COVID-19
Cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to increase in Nebraska and nationwide. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the state is critical. The actions below help protect each other and those who are more vulnerable to severe illness and death, and help hospitals and clinics from being overwhelmed so they can continue to provide care to families, friends and neighbors who need it.
- Stay 6 feet away from others.
- Stay at home and only grocery shop once per week alone.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public (grocery stores, pharmacies etc.) when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others.
- Work from home.
- Hold conference calls or virtual meetings instead of in person.
- Stay home if you or someone in your house has a sudden onset of cough or shortness of breath or a fever.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Wash hands right before you eat.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, especially counters, handles, doorknobs, tabletops, remotes and keyboards.
Recent studies show that a significant portion of people with COVID-19 lack symptoms and those that eventually develop symptoms can pass the virus to others before showing symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-faq.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM25135.
Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Public health officials continue to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing is crucial to slowing the spread of the virus. The use of simple cloth face coverings can help people who may have the virus but not know it from spreading it to others says the CDC.
- Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line: (402) 552-6645. Hours are: 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 English and En Español
- Review the Health Alert Network (HAN) for recent information and guidelines for health care providers.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency https://nema.nebraska.gov/news
REMINDER COVID-19 can affect persons of any age. Do your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by:
- Frequently wash your hands
- Frequently disinfect surfaces
- Practice physical distancing (at least six feet from other people)
- Stay home as much as possible.
REMINDER 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.
Attorney General’s Office COVID-19 Information
Scammers and others may use COVID-19 as an opportunity to defraud Nebraskans. Learn more about potential COVID-19 scams at ProtectTheGoodLife.Nebraska.Gov. If you suspect fraud, file a consumer complaint or send an email to email@example.com.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org , 402-471-0972
Department of Agriculture (NDA) nda.nebraska.gov
NDA has a COVID-19 webpage available to the public with information pertaining to agricultural producers. Go to nda.nebraska.gov/COVID-19 for more information.
Department of Banking and Finance
Department of Corrections corrections.nebraska.gov
NDCS has a COVID-19 webpage available to the public with information pertaining to the agency’s response to the virus. Go to corrections.nebraska.gov for more information.
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
Department of Insurance
NEW A notice was issued advising all insurance companies of the flexibility being allowed in complying with their regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific information can be found at https://doi.nebraska.gov/sites/doi.nebraska.gov/files/doc/ComplyingWithRegRequirementsDuringPublicHealthEmergency.pdf.
Department of Labor NEworks.nebraska.gov and dol.nebraska.gov
The American Job Center at Heartland Workforce Solutions in Omaha has temporarily relocated to Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha Campus at 5300 N. 30th St., Building 7. The location change is anticipated to last through this week.
Customers needing assistance should use the Army Entrance off 30th street at the north end of campus or the 30th and Fort St entrance. The 32nd and Sorenson entrance is closed due to construction.
Since all job centers are adhering to social distancing guidelines, call 531-622-6173 before visiting the center. Customers with questions regarding their unemployment insurance claims should go to NEworks.nebraska.gov and view their Claim Summary or call 855-995-8863.
Call Heartland Workforce Solutions at 402-444-4700 for local workforce system programs and for employers seeking talent.
Department of Motor Vehicles DMV news releases
Department of Revenue
Revenue Ruling 99-20-1: All Nebraska Taxes, Signature Requirements You can now file your Petition for Redetermination (Protest) Electronically. This applies to Notices of Deficiency Determinations issued by the Nebraska Department of Revenue (DOR). This does not apply to protests or appeals filed with the Property Assessment Division.
The Nebraska Department of Revenue (DOR) has issued new guidance with specific instructions and information regarding signature requirements, which will assist taxpayers, especially in situations where the individuals responsible for signing tax returns are working from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For most forms and filings, for which there is no separate DOR taxpayer filing system, DOR will accept as a taxpayer signature, any mark, handwritten or digitally rendered that is applied with actual or apparent intention to authenticate the filing. More information is available at the Nebraska Department of Revenue website revenue.nebraska.gov; or contact the Department by email or phone here.
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.
Department of Natural Resources 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.
Our agency also continues to ensure that critical water related information remains available (see https://dnr.nebraska.gov/). It is being updated continuously, including real-time streamgaging information.
Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT)
NDOT announced statewide traffic volumes from the first week of April held steady from March reports. Volumes showed a slight uptick in statewide vehicle traffic from a 29 percent decrease March 22-28 to a 28 percent decrease in the first week of April compared to the 2016-2018 three-year average.
Percent Difference in Weekly Traffic Volume
March- April 4, 2020 compared to 2016-2018 average
|Rural Highways||I-80 West of Lincoln||Omaha Streets & Highways||Lincoln Streets & Highways||I-80 Lincoln to Iowa,
|Remaining Small Urban Streets & Highways||Statewide Total|
|March 29-April 4||-22||-28||-33||-30||-40||-28||-28|
Data collected from 58 sites across the state reported a 28 percent decrease in weekly statewide traffic volumes compared to the 2016-2018 three year average. Truck/freight traffic continues to remain at near normal levels across the state. NDOT will publish weekly updates to estimate the impact COVID-19 is having on vehicle traffic volumes across Nebraska.
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.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs is hiring at all four veterans’ homes, with openings for food service workers, housekeepers, RNs, LPNs, CNAs and more. If you are interested in becoming a CNA, we offer CNA classes that pay an hourly wage during training, pay for supplies and the certification exam, and come with a job in the facility upon completion of the training. Our teammates have great state benefits, job security, a friendly work environment, and a chance to serve those who served. Join our team of heroes helping heroes. Find openings and apply at statejobs.nebraska.gov. Applicants can expect to have a virtual interview rather than in-person
Game and Parks Commission http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
In a proactive effort to prevent the potential for spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will prohibit overnight camping at state parks, state recreation areas and wildlife management areas starting today through Friday, May 8, with a possible extension.
In addition, the closure of state park area lodging and cabins will be extended through May 8.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recommends travelers coming to Nebraska or back to Nebraska from out-of-state should limit public interactions, practice strict social distancing, self-monitor for symptoms and self-quarantine for 14 days.
State parks and recreation areas will remain open for day use so guests may enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing while maintaining proper physical distancing of at least six feet. A limited number of restrooms, which will be disinfected regularly using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols, will be available.
The closures are in keeping with national recommendations from the CDC; cities and states across the nation are taking similar proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Game and Parks’ top priority is the health and well-being of the public and its staff.
Refunds will be given to campers who have prepaid fees. The camping closure will be reevaluated in the future to determine if an extension is necessary.
Those still enjoying outdoor recreation should follow CDC guidelines. They include staying home for people who are sick, have knowingly been exposed to a sick individual or are coming from any area of community spread of the virus. People also should avoid crowds, adhere to the 10-person-limit guideline, and bring supplies from home, including food and hygiene products, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer.
For a list of all Game and Parks cancellations, postponements and closures, go to OutdoorNebraska.org/healthinfo. For more detailed information about how coronavirus cancellations may affect customers, check the Frequently Asked Questions page at OutdoorNebraska.gov/covid19faqs or use the Contact Us form at OutdoorNebraska.gov/contact. Past news release are available online: http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/category/news/
NEW A total of 129 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen supporting COVID-19 response efforts in Nebraska.
A second team of 23 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen deployed to Grand Island and began collecting samples at a mobile testing site Tuesday.
The first 23-member team that supported DHHS with setting up on-site testing for all YRTC-Kearney residents and staff Sunday and Monday will continue mobile testing support in the Kearney area.
The Nebraska National Guard continues to provide logistical and planning support to our state and federal partners.
National Guard personnel supporting COVID-19 response are receiving health checks themselves at least twice daily.
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 State Patrol
NEW The Nebraska State Patrol has modified fingerprinting operations to limit the amount of person-to-person contact required for this process. Many professions that require fingerprint-based background checks are covered by executive orders issued by Governor Ricketts and professionals in those fields, such as healthcare or daycare providers, may begin work while their background check remains in process.
You can find more information about NSP fingerprinting measures during the COVID-19 pandemic here: https://statepatrol.nebraska.gov/nsp-prioritize-specific-fingerprinting-services-during-pandemic
If you have questions about whether or not you can, or should, be fingerprinted as part of a background check process during this period of time, please call the Nebraska State Patrol Criminal Identification Division at 402-479-4971.
Nebraska State Troopers remain on patrol throughout Nebraska and are working to keep Nebraska roads safe. If you need assistance while traveling in Nebraska, you can call *55 or 800-525-5555 to reach the NSP Highway Helpline.
Renewals or changes to existing CHPs, such as updating a name or mailing address, can still be completed online at https://www.nebraska.gov/apps-nsp-chp/. Additional information on this change can be found at: https://statepatrol.nebraska.gov/nsp-prioritize-specific-fingerprinting-services-during-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: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-014)
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. (Tips for Using Caution with Email Attachments: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-010)
- 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.
NEW 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 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 screensharing options. Change screensharing 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: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/aa20-099a
Public Service Commission
Please visit the PSC COVID-19 Information & Guidance page for the latest from the Nebraska Public Service Commission.
Secretary of State’s Office
The Nebraska Secretary of State’s office is actively recruiting registered voters interested in serving as poll workers. Poll workers are a paid position. To be a poll worker you must be 16 years old and if 18 years old or older, must be a registered voter in the county. Service clubs and other volunteer organizations are able to contract with a county election office, to be paid directly for their volunteer’s time, and can use the funds as they wish for their charitable projects. Poll worker pay will not reduce unemployment benefits for those who are unemployed. Virtual training will be available online or on television.
Every polling site will receive kits that includes:
- At least two N95 masks per poll worker
- 25 pairs of gloves
- 540 ml bottle of hand sanitizer
- A canister of disinfecting wipes
- Individual black pens for each voter to keep
- Social distancing standards will apply.
Contact your local county office by phone or email if you wish to serve as a poll worker. Make a difference in your community and become a proud poll worker. For county election contact information visit https://sos.nebraska.gov/elections/election-officials-contactinformation.
State Partner Updates
American Red Cross
It continues to be safe to give blood. American Red Cross employees follow the highest standards of safety and infection control. The Red Cross has also implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety of its donors and staff during this outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions.
Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Teams
NEW The Medical Reserve Corps is working with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to help meet staff shortages in long-care facilities. The Eastern Nebraska MRC has been active in providing behavioral health services for Three Rivers, Douglas County and Sarpy County Health Departments; and is helping Three Rivers with contact tracing.
Hall County Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) has been called upon twice to help with Strategic National Stockpile Hubs. This is a role that they have been training and exercising for the past few years. The Hall County Teams have also been solicited for help assisting the county election commissioner, who is losing all regular poll workers due to concerns over COVID-19.
Central Nebraska MRC has also been involved with the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Strategic National Stockpile throughout the Central Nebraska Area.
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.
Natural Resources Districts (NRDs):
NEW NRD employees doing field work (checking well levels, testing water and soil, tree planting, etc.) are considered essential workers. Landowners and the public should allow them to do their work uninterrupted.
Want to visit an NRD recreation area? Check for closures and limitations by visiting: www.nrdnet.org/recreation.
A majority of NRD physical offices are closed to the public; however, NRD employees continue to work and answer phones/email to provide service to the public.
University of Nebraska Medical Center | Nebraska Medicine has COVID-19 Resources on its website. NEW Nebraska Medicine UNMC have led the world in treatment, training and quarantine methods for highly infectious diseases since caring for patients during the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
Federal Partner Updates
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
NEW According to FEMA Region VII which serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, the federal government has provided approximately 1.2 million surgical masks, 1 million pairs of gloves, 500,000 N95 respirators, 20,000 surgical gowns, $245,000 face shields and $7,500 coveralls to Region VII states and tribes.
- For general information related to the federal response efforts, visit www.fema.gov
- For rumor control, go to www.fema.gov/Coronavirus-Rumor-Control
- For information on How to Help by volunteering, selling or donating medical supplies to FEMA, visit: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Center for Disease Control (CDC)
NEW Find answers about COVID-19 here: https://faq.coronavirus.gov/
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
NEW The FDA is working with U.S. Government partners, including CDC and international partners to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Find more info here: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/counterterrorism-and-emerging-threats/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
NEW The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. Find more info here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus%20
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
NEW Get answers to VA related questions about the coronavirus: https://www.va.gov/coronavirus-veteran-frequently-asked-questions/
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
SBA launched a $349 billion emergency loan program last week entitled Paycheck Protection Program, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Visit www.SBA.gov/Coronavirus for information about protecting your business, employees and customers.
SBA issued guidance today clarifying that all faith-based organizations impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, without restrictions based on their religious identity or activities, to the extent, they meet the eligibility criteria.
Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has a COVID-19 map with case information from around the world. It can be found at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html as part of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center website. The site also includes News & Information, a Data Center, Covid-19 Basics and Videos & Live Events.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration has information on Food Safety and COVID_19
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is carefully monitoring the spread of COVID-19. As with any type of emergency situation, BOP carefully assess how to best ensure the safety of staff, inmates and the public. Visit https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/index.jsp for information from BOP.