LINCOLN –The total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the state increased by six to 119 today, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) data dashboard. To view county specific data, click on the county within the Nebraska map.
In addition, DHHS recently updated its COVID-19 dashboard to include death data by county and added data related to hospital capacity – http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus
The state case total, as of 5:45 p.m. Central Daylight Time today, is 9,772. Local health departments are reporting deaths and cases in their jurisdictions. In the event of a discrepancy between DHHS dashboard data and deaths or cases reported by local public health officials, data reported by the local health department should be considered the most up to date.
Today, at his daily coronavirus briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts highlighted the state’s support of long-term care (LTC) facilities during the pandemic. He previewed a new tool being developed by DHHS to help LTC facilities assess and improve their preparedness planning. Speaking at the briefing, Becky Wisell, interim deputy director of Health Licensure and Environmental Health for the Division of Public Health, said the COVID-19 response planning tool covers key areas that LTC facilities should consider in their planning, such as identification and management of ill residents; visitation policies, supplies and resources, infection control and disinfection protocols; and surge capacity for staffing. The state will be asking every LTC facility to complete a plan and will send out the new tool in the near future.
TestNebraska launched last week with mobile testing sites. The Governor is urging all Nebraskans to take the assessment provided on the TestNebraska website to help identify cases of COVID-19 in the state. After taking the assessment, participants who fit the criteria will be notified via phone or email that they qualify to be tested for COVID-19. Nebraskans can take the assessment at https://www.testnebraska.com/. Because people can develop symptoms quickly, Nebraskans are asked to update their assessments from time to time as needed.
After someone tests positive, a contact tracer with the local or state public health team will reach out to them with information on safely self-isolating, said Felicia Quintana-Zinn, deputy director within the Division of Public Health, at Gov. Ricketts’ Thursday briefing. The contact tracer will also ask questions about where the person has recently been, and with whom they have been in close contact. The information gathered by contact tracers helps to identify other persons who have been exposed to the virus and may be at risk.
Governor Pete Ricketts earlier had announced changes to some of the state’s Directed Health Measures (DHM), including re-openings of selected businesses in specific regions of Nebraska. A map of local health departments is also available.
DHHS supports Governor Ricketts in urging Nebraskans to follow the Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy.
- Stay home. No non-essential errands and no social gatherings. Respect the ten-person limits.
- Socially distance your work. Work from home or use the six-foot rule as much as possible in the workplace.
- Shop alone. Do this only once a week and do not take your family with you.
- Help kids social distance. Play at home, no group sports and no playgrounds.
- Help seniors stay at home. This can be done by shopping for them. Do not visit long-term facilities.
- Exercise daily. Do your best to stay as healthy and safe as you can.
Recent studies show that a significant portion of people with COVID-19 lack symptoms and those who 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/
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.
Here’s where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website – http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19 .
DHHS opened a statewide COVID-19 information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is (402) 552-6645 or toll-free at (833) 998-2275; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CDT, 7 days a week.
DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC’s website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19 .