Nebraska Joint Information Center Update
RELEASE DATE: Mar 30, 2020
National COVID-19 guidelines, set to expire Tuesday, were extended to April 30. President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that the White House would be extending its social distancing guidelines through April 30, from an initial 15-day timeline when they were implemented on March 16.
The guidelines call on Americans to avoid social gatherings involving groups of 10 or more, to stay away from public spaces like restaurants and bars, to avoid discretionary travel and to practice increased hygiene. They also ask Americans to stay home if they are sick and for older individuals to stay away from other people.
According to the CDC website, there are 140,904 COVID-19 cases in the United States and 2,405 deaths (Updated 3/30/2020). Cases have been reported in 55 U.S. jurisdictions, including: 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Marianas, and the US Virgin Islands. These statistics include both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.
Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office https://governor.nebraska.gov/
NEW Gov. Ricketts signed a major disaster declaration request that was submitted to FEMA Region VII to be forwarded to President Donald Trump for his approval. The federal declaration would allow for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance to help Nebraska respond to the COVID-19 disaster.
NEW Gov. Ricketts has not issued a stay-at-home order nor does he plan to issue one. There are directed healthcare measures for 18 counties (see below) that people should refer to that impose an enforceable limit of 10 or fewer people at public gatherings. However, 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.
NEW Gov. Ricketts announced that the state’s fourth COVID-19 related directed health measure was issued for Burt, Cuming, Madison and Stanton counties as of 9 a.m. Sunday after a community transmission of COVID-19 was identified in Madison County. It will be in effect until May 6 unless renewed.
The DHM imposes an enforceable limit on public gatherings. Among other steps, the DHM 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. It also does not apply to daycares that may be operated at a school per the governor’s executive order regarding childcare, which you can access here.
The first DHM, issued, March 18, applies to Cass, Douglas and Sarpy counties and is in effect until at least April 30.
The second DHM, issued, March 25, applies to Dodge, Lancaster, Saunders and Washington counties and is in effect until at least May 6.
The third DHM, issued, March 28, applies to Butler, Hall, Hamilton, Merrick, Polk, Seward, and York counties and is in effect until May 6th unless renewed.
If you have concerns about a directed health measure contact your local health department or the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
As of March 30 at noon, the current case numbers for Nebraska are:
145 positive tests
2,734 negative tests,
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.
DHHS now provide daily updates to the state’s COVID-19 case totals, visit the new data dashboard at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.
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
Health Care Provider Information (HAN)
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency https://nema.nebraska.gov/news
NEW NEMA prepared the Major Disaster Declaration Request for Gov. Ricketts signature today requesting federal assistance to aid in Nebraska’s response to the spread of COVID 19.
Nebraska Attorney General’s Office COVID-19 Information
Many Nebraskans will be looking for ways to generously help communities in response to COVID-19. The Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to educating and providing Nebraskans with best practices for donating. We also have a Mediation Center that takes complaints from those who believe they have been scammed by someone or some organization. VisitProtectTheGoodLife.Nebraska.Gov where a checklist as well as Wise Giving Tips are included to support Nebraskans in donating with care.
Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) nda.nebraska.gov
NEW 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
NEW 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 new consumer alert on COVID-19—What Every Medicare Recipient Should Know and Insurer Accommodations to Policyholders or Claimants Developed in Response to COVID-19 are now available on the Department of Insurance website.
Department of Labor NEworks.nebraska.gov and dol.nebraska.gov
Department of Motor Vehicles DMV news releases
The DMV has generated a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) documents to assist customers with how the Governor’s recent executive order may impact them. Answers to specific questions can be found under the News Releases section of the DMV website here.
NEW Department of Revenue Revenue Ruling 99-20-1: All Nebraska Taxes, Signature Requirements
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 (NeDNR) remains open for business
The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources has activated a continuity-of-business plan to keep team members and the public safe during this pandemic. Team members who can work remotely are doing so at this time. Those who need to access the office are practicing social distancing and alternating work days.
We continue to be open for business; however, due to these events, there may be times when certain messages take a little longer to return. Please be patient and know that your message will be returned as quickly as possible. We are working to ensure continuity of contracting efforts and timely payment of eligible reimbursement payments under contracts and encourage that contractors send electronic versions of documents to expedite processing.
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.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The NDVA State Service Office, located at 40th and Old Cheney in Lincoln, is closed for in-person visits and cannot take walk-ins for the time being. However, state service officers are still available to help veterans and their family members file claims. Call 402-420-4021 and we will work with you to gather documentation, submit claims, answer questions, and help however we can.
Game and Parks http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
NEW In a continued, proactive effort to prevent the potential for spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission temporarily will close state park and recreation area playgrounds and play structures beginning March 30.
The closures are in keeping with national recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which encourages maintaining physical distance’ and limiting in-person social interactions.
Game and Parks will continue to keep open state park and recreation areas grounds and trails, which provide adequate room for proper physical distancing for the health and safety of the public. These recreation areas also offer opportunities to hike and fish while maintaining 6-foot distance between healthy guests. Parks permits can be purchased online at OutdoorNebraska.org.
The agency in late March closed all parks offices and commission offices; service and education centers; and other facilities temporarily. Also closed in April, with a possible extension period, are state park and recreation area lodges, cabins, and public shower buildings. A limited number of public restrooms, which are sanitized regularly, remain open. The agency is taking proactive measures to protect its customers and employees, including using approved cleaning and disinfecting regiments per CDC recommendations.
For the most up-to-date information on closures and event cancellations or postponements, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/healthinfo.
Nebraska Attorney General’s Office COVID-19 Information
Nebraska State Patrol
The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) continues to encourage drivers to follow all traffic laws. Any motorist can report a dangerous driver by calling the NSP Highway Helpline at *55 or 800-525-5555.
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.
Homeland Security is encouraging state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments to reference known official resources on COVID-19 information. Members can read more about COVID-19 related scams at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resource here.
Public Service Commission
The Nebraska Public Service Commission has entered an order (NUSF-92) that will allow telecommunications carriers to seek reimbursement for providing service to low-income families as a part of the response to the COVID-19 emergency. The order makes one million dollars available through the NUSF Broadband Adoption program to assist carriers in providing low-income subscriber’s access to broadband to facilitate online learning. Read the PSC news release on the grant program at http://tiny.cc/NewPSCGrant