March 19, 2020 (LINCOLN, Neb.) The State of Nebraska is working together in its response to COVID 19 including activation of the State Emergency Operations Center following a State Emergency Declaration by Gov. Pete Ricketts on March 13. While the Department of Health and Human Services is the lead agency for the state’s response to COVID-19, all state agencies are coordinating information and resources and working at the direction of the Governor in support of the state response.
Governor Pete Rickett’s Office Gov. Ricketts’s news releases
Today Gov. Ricketts announced the first Directed Health Measure in Nebraska for COVID-19. The DHM imposes an enforceable limit on public gatherings and applies to all communities in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties.
The measure comes after the Douglas County Public Health Department confirmed its second case of community transmission of COVID-19. The DHM will be in effect until April 30. It requires restaurants and bars in these areas to close their dining areas immediately and move to takeout service, delivery and/or curbside service only until further notice. Additionally, schools in these areas are directed to operate without students in their buildings. This restriction does not apply to school staff working in school buildings.
The COVID-19 Hotline number in Nebraska is (402) 552-6645. State Agencies are sharing information using the #NECOVID19 Hashtag.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency NEMA news releases
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at Nebraska Emergency Management Agency activated March 16 and NEMA officials and partner agencies continue to work together in response to the rapidly evolving health concerns surrounding COVID-19.
- NEMA officials and partner agencies are monitoring conditions, fielding calls from citizens and community partners and locating resources to keep citizens safe.
- NEMA is working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Administrative Services on purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep Nebraskans safe.
- The SEOC will remain open as needed. Daily webinars and conference calls are providing situational awareness for state employees and partners while limiting the need for a large meeting.
- NEMA is tracking cancellations and closures across the state, responding to requests for assistance from local emergency managers and developing a common operating picture to keep local officials aware of the evolving situation.
- NEMA and state officials are working with the U.S. Small Business Administration on disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans for small businesses suffering substantial economic injury because of COVID-19. Gov. Pete Ricketts submitted the request for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program and once Nebraska is officially designated, the SBA will submit information to all affected communities. For information:
o Visit SBA.gov/disaster
o Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or
o E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Local entities can and have been submitting emergency declarations to the state through NEMA so that should conditions change and state and federal assistance be needed, the local governments and schools can make requests for assistance without any undue delay.
Department of Environment and Energy http://www.deq.state.ne.us/
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s Wastewater Division would like to remind people that sanitizing wipes, baby wipes and even “flushable” wipes are not flushable — regardless of what the product states.
Flushed wipes cause sewer system blockages, resulting in overflows from manholes and basement backups. This can lead to expensive repairs and damage to your municipal systems or homes.
Please throw sanitizing wipes in the trash.
Department of Motor Vehicles DMV news releases
DMV will no longer be conducting driving tests statewide until further notice and has taken steps to introduce social distancing at all state DMV offices. That includes limiting the number of people allowed in the lobby or asking customers to wait outside in their vehicle. DMV has dozens of services available online. Customers are urged to complete any possible transactions online. A full list of services is available at: dmv.nebraska.gov/services.
Office of the Chief Information Officer Website
The OCIO provided the following information to keep Nebraskans safe 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.
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of 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.
Tips for Using Caution with Email Attachments: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-010
Tips for Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-014
State Fire Marshal
- Inspections of nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities performed by State Fire Marshal (NSFM) deputies are suspended until April 8.
- Training classes administered by NSFM training specialists are canceled through March 31.
County Courthouse Closures
The Nebraska Association of Government Officials (NACO) is updating a map of county courthouse closures at: https://nacone.org/pdfs/COVID%20-%2019%20Map.pdf
- Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
- If you feel sick, stay home.
- If your children are sick, keep them home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provide
- If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
- If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
- If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on How to Protect Yourself.