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State using UNK to serve as care site for COVID-19; First residents arrive

State using UNK to serve as care site for COVID-19; First residents arrive
UNK facilities employees and members of the Nebraska National Guard load supplies into Centennial Towers West on April 21. On Wednesday, the state began housing individuals at UNK. (Photo by Corbey R. Dorsey, UNK Communications)

KEARNEY – As part of an agreement between the University of Nebraska system and State of Nebraska, two UNK residence halls are serving as alternative care sites for individuals required to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.

The Nebraska National Guard, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, area hospitals and others are utilizing the care sites during the coronavirus pandemic.

UNK is now accepting people as part of the Nebraska Accommodation Project, which is for the general public. Two individuals checked in Wednesday and are currently staying on campus.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Centennial Towers East and Centennial Towers West have 197 available rooms, including 99 quarantine rooms and 98 isolation rooms.

The state’s goal is to offer temporary housing to Nebraskans who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are in need of a quarantine and/or isolation location because they live with a high-risk household member.

Individuals will not be able to leave UNK facilities until their quarantine or isolation periods have ended. They will be isolated from the 120 UNK students currently living on campus. UNK will provide three meals per day for individuals the state houses, as well as janitorial services. The state will pay the university $100 per day per occupied room.

The National Guard is handling security, building access and oversight of onsite operations. It began preparing the residence halls for patient care April 14.

DHHS will determine who stays at the alternative care sites, which are open to anyone that meets the application criteria. Applications can be completed by filling out the accommodation request form at More information on guidelines are also available at the website under the General Public FAQ form.

The state is not using UNK housing for first responders, medical workers or corrections officers. Those individuals should contact Two Rivers Public Health Department at 888-669-7154 or fill out the state’s accommodation request form at

Others who don’t meet criteria for receiving care at UNK or have been displaced due to COVID-19 are being asked to work with the Buffalo County Emergency Housing Task force. The housing resource website is

People who are homeless after hours and weekends should contact law enforcement at 308-237-2104 to determine if they qualify for one night of lodging supported by vouchers from The Salvation Army.

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