Nebraska Joint Information Center Update
RELEASE DATE: Apr 28, 2020
COVID-19 Case Updates
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard
3,358 positive tests — 20,247 negative tests — 55 deaths
United States The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:
981,246 cases — 55,258 deaths
Globally World Health Organization Situation Report
2,954,222 cases — 202,597 deaths
Johns Hopkins University of Medicine COVID-19 Dashboard
3,098,391 cases — 216,160 deaths
State of Nebraska Updates
Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office https://governor.nebraska.gov
NEW At his 2 p.m. news conference today, Gov. Ricketts discussed the May 4 changes that will occur in Douglas, Sarpy and Cass Counties as some of the restrictions from the first directed health care measure are set to expire. Changes will effect restaurants, dental practices and veterinarian offices. According to Gov. Ricketts, restaurants in those counties will be able to open at 50 percent of capacity with tables six-feet apart. Restaurant staff will be masked and alcohol can only be served if food is also being served. Other guidelines include a maximum of six individuals in each dining party, no self-serve buffets or salad bars and no bar and counter seating.
NEW Zoe Olson, executive director of the Nebraska Restaurant Association joined Gov. Ricketts and said restaurants will be following best practices for reopening. She said restaurant staff will be doing everything they can to make restaurants as safe an environment as possible for their customers. She asked that customers do what they can to keep restaurant staff and other customers safe as well. “We ask that you promise not to come into our restaurants if you are sick or showing any signs of COVID-19.”
NEW Dr. Charles Craft, state dental health director at the Department of Health and Human Services, was on hand to discuss interim guidelines for opening dental practices. “As we prepare to open elective services on May 4 we want to ensure that our message to the dental community is clear.” As a result, they have produced guidelines for practices as they open. He said the decision to re-open is up to each dental practice and the new guidelines will assist offices in making decisions to reopen.
NEW Ken Tusha, president of the Nebraska Dental Association was on hand to discuss the NDA Guidelines for reopening dental offices. The guidelines are available at nedental.org. Tusha said dental office openings “will not be like turning on a light switch. It will be more like a dimmer switch.” Offices will open slowly. Patients will have their temperatures taken; will likely wait in their car until it is their turn. Patient to patient contact will be eliminated and dental staff will be wearing increased personal protective equipment.
REMINDER Gov. Ricketts reminded Nebraskans to visit testnebraska.com to complete an online assessment. Test Nebraska will assess, test and track COVID-19 cases in the state. The program will help the state increase testing which is important to stop the spread of the virus in the state and especially important when restrictions are lifted. The increased testing will allow only those who test positive to stay home while those who test negative can return to work. Ricketts said the testing will be free for Nebraskans and will give the state real-time information about COVID-19. As part of the plan, Nebraskans are asked to take the #TestNebraskaChallenge and to nominate five friends to take the test. The page is now available in Spanish https://www.testnebraska.com/es. The first two sites will be Omaha and Grand Island. Currently, 100,000 people have signed up so far.
REMINDER In addition, Gov. Ricketts reminded Nebraskans, that the state is on day 19 of 21 Days to Stay Home and Stay Healthy
Please follow these Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy
Stay home. No non-essential errands and no social gatherings. Respect the 10-person limit.
Socially distance your work. Work from home or use the six-foot rule as much as possible in the workplace.
Shop alone and only shop once a week. Do not take family with you.
Help kids follow social distancing. Play at home. No group sports and no playgrounds.
Help seniors stay at home by shopping for them. Do not visit long-term care facilities.
Exercise daily at home or with an appropriately socially-distanced activity.
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) COVID-19 Information | DHHS News Releases
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been awarded a $2 million COVID-19 related grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For complete details check out the DHHS News Release.
COVID-19 Dashboard now includes hospitalization data:
Other DHHS Links and Information COVID-19 Information | DHHS News Releases
Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line: (402) 552-6645. Hours: 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, En Español (Spanish), Thông tin b?ng ti?ng Vi?t (Vietnamese), Informations en français (French), ???? (Chinese), ??? ?? (Korean), American Sign Language Videos
Review the Health Alert Network (HAN) for recent information and guidelines for health care providers.
NEW A total of 356 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are supporting COVID-19 response efforts in Nebraska.
Four mobile testing teams continue to provide support to local health districts.
As of April 27, the teams have collected 4,085 test samples in support of 17 health department districts across the state.
There are 69 Soldiers and Airmen supporting food packaging with Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha and food packaging and distribution with Food Bank of Lincoln.
The Nebraska National Guard will be updating this album with photos throughout the COVID-19 response
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, email@example.com, 402-471-0972
Department of Agriculture (NDA) nda.nebraska.gov
Nurseries and Garden Centers: The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has created guidance for nurseries and garden centers to help keep customers healthy and to slow the spread of COVID-19. All nurseries and garden centers should first consult with their local health department to ensure that the business is able to meet all local health department guidelines. Nursery and garden center guidance and additional agriculture-related information can be found on NDA’s website at: www.nda.nebraska.gov/COVID-19.
Department of Banking and Finance
NEW The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance is extending its temporary suspension of examinations of financial institutions from April 24, 2020 to May 15, 2020. This extension will further allow state-chartered banks, credit unions, and other financial entities to continue to assist their customers in Paycheck Protection Program requests, loan restructuring, and other service items. The Department expects to resume offsite examinations in early June 2020.
The Department’s April 27, 2020 Statement on Examinations can be found at https://ndbf.nebraska.gov/sites/ndbf.nebraska.gov/files/about/20200427%20NDBF%20FI%20Exam%20Posture%20update.pdf
Department of Corrections corrections.nebraska.gov
NDCS has COVID-19 related information on its webpage at https://corrections.nebraska.gov/ndcs-coronavirus-health-update.
Department of Economic Development https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/nded-covid19/
Updated 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
Additional new items on the NDEE COVID-19 webpage include:
NDEE is allowing a temporary period for operations to have more livestock on site than permitted for. This is to help producers who may have issues with hauling livestock to packing plants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The period should not last past June 1, 2020.
Due to current circumstances, there may be instances where dairies are unable to send milk to processors because of a lack of the ability to process the milk. NDEE is allowing for the disposal of excess milk and milk products in Livestock Waste Control Facilities (LWCF) from dairies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Municipal lagoons and treatment systems are not included in this exception.
NDEE has issued guidance for indoor and outdoor pools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The department recommends pools, spas and spray parks carefully evaluate state and local Directed Health Measures, and close or delay opening until they are lifted.
Department of Insurance
CARES Act payments will have no impact on ACA Marketplace subsidies according to the Nebraska Department of Insurance.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, calls for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make economic impact payments of up to $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 for each qualifying child, adjusted based on income. The federal government has announced that any money received due to the CARES Act does not need to be included as income on an application for individual health insurance coverage through healthcare.gov.
In addition, payments received through the CARES Act do not impact an individual’s eligibility for financial assistance for health care coverage through the Marketplace or eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For more information, visit IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief or https://www.healthcare.gov/coronavirus/.
Department of Labor NEworks.nebraska.gov and dol.nebraska.gov
NEW There were 12,045 new unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending April 18, a decrease of more than 24 percent from the previous week when 15,943 initial claims were filed. There were 41,727 filed in the entire 2019 calendar year. Spreadsheets showing claims data are available here and will be updated every Thursday. Initial claims are filed by individuals to request a determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. NDOL processes initial unemployment insurance claims and, if an individual meets eligibility criteria, benefits are paid for each week of continued unemployment.
Claims by Industry
The highest counts of initial claims were in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry (1,529), which decreased 22.5 percent from the prior week (1,973). All industries had declines in initial claims from the prior week except for Manufacturing and Transportation and Warehousing, which saw an increase of 11.4 percent and 59.2 percent respectively.
Filing a Claim
Any worker in a non-paid status due to COVID-19 may file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment claims in Nebraska are filed online at NEworks.nebraska.gov. The NEworks mobile app is available to download for free. After filing a new initial claim, applicants must certify their eligibility every week that they continue to be unemployed by logging into their NEworks account. These weekly certifications must be completed even while the new claim is still being processed. Claim and payment status can also be viewed by logging into the NEworks account.
The federal CARES Act created a temporary program that offers benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits including the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA). The act also increases the amount an individual on regular unemployment or PUA will receive by $600 for every week an individual is unemployed. All individuals who qualify will receive $600 in additional benefits for each eligible week of unemployment through July 25. Workers who have been affected by the pandemic should file a claim for unemployment. NDOL will automatically review every claim that comes in for eligibility under the CARES Act.
Department of Motor Vehicles DMV news releases
Department of Natural Resources
On April 23, 125 years ago, NeDNR began its mission to safeguard Nebraska’s most precious natural resource through sound partnerships, cooperation and science-based decision making to help grow Nebraska’s future. Our agency continues to ensure that critical water-related information remains available (see https://dnr.nebraska.gov/.) Be assured that our staff continue to update vital information, including real-time streamgaging information, during this pandemic.
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.
Department of Revenue
During the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Nebraska Department of Revenue provides guidance, direction, or pertinent public information such items may be found here. The most current information will be posted to the department’s website under “Featured Information”. Taxpayer Assistance is also available online and by phone, and contact information may be found here.
Department of Transportation
Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) launched a new Traffic Count Dashboard as an informational resource for Nebraskans. NDOT has been reporting traffic data since March 1 to track the impact of COVID-19 on statewide traffic volumes. The Traffic Count Dashboard will be updated weekly and can be viewed using the following link:
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.
Game and Parks Commission http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
In a proactive effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is prohibiting overnight camping at state parks, state recreation areas and wildlife management areas through Friday, May 8 and state park area lodging and cabins are closed through May 8 as well.
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/
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 Emergency Management Agency https://nema.nebraska.gov/news
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.
Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office
The Nebraska State Fire Marshal has developed an electronic burn permit that can be used by fire chiefs across the state beginning today. It allows fire departments to review, approve and issue burn permits without having to meet in-person with those who are requesting them, thus promoting social distancing and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to the firefighting community.
To obtain a PDF copy of the electronic burn permit, or to find out more, a fire chief can contact Assistant State Fire Marshal Doug Hohbein by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and request one. Requirements for the proper issuance and use of the permit are included on page 2 of the permit.
The issuance and use of electronic burn permits will terminate 30 days after the COVID-19 declared State of Emergency has been withdrawn.”
Nebraska State Patrol
NEW Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) will distribute 100,000 surgical masks to truck drivers over the next two days at several locations. The masks were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NSP is working with the Nebraska Trucking Association, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and the U.S. Postal Service on the distribution efforts. Nebraska is one of eight states working with federal agencies as part of this program.
The masks will be distributed at eight locations on Wednesday, April 29, and nine locations on Thursday, April 30. Those locations are:
Wednesday, April 29
Thursday, April 30
Melia Hills Rest Area – I-80 MM 431 WB
Waverly WB Scale – I-80
Waverly EB Scale – I-80
North Platte WB Scale – I-80
North Platte EB Scale – I-80
Nebraska City EB/WB Scale – Highway 2
Fremont NB/SB Scale – Highway 77/275
Hebron NB/SB Scale – Highway 81
Goehner Truck Parking – I-80 MM 375 WB
Melia Hills Rest Area – I-80 MM 431 WB
Waverly WB Scale – I-80
Waverly EB Scale – I-80
North Platte WB Scale – I-80
North Platte EB Scale – I-80
Nebraska City EB/WB Scale – Highway 2
Fremont NB/SB Scale – Highway 77/275
Hebron NB/SB Scale – Highway 81
Times for distribution vary by location. For a complete list of distribution times at each mask distribution location, visit this page on the NSP website.
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.
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 Webex, 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 screen sharing options. Change screen sharing 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
The PSC State 911 Department is also sharing COVID-19 guidance for Nebraska Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs) on our State 911 Department webpage @ http://tiny.cc/PSAPCOVID19Guidance
Secretary of State’s Office
Register to vote in-person deadline
May 1 – Fill out and sign the voter registration online form. Because County offices are closed to the public you can drop off your voter registration at your local county building voter box located outside for in-person voter registration. https://www.nebraska.gov/apps-sos-voter-registration/
Early ballot request form to be returned by the deadline or it will not be processed
May 1 – Early ballot application must be received by 6:00 pm
May 12 – Poll open and early ballots have until close of polls to have them turned in
82 percent of likely voters to vote early in Nebraska’s primary election
450,000 – The number of ballots that have been mailed out
161,678 – The number of ballots that have been returned
Early vote mail-in ballot request
May 1 The last day to request an early ballot
May 12 Primary election, poles open and the last day to return your ballot - by close of poll
State Partner Updates
American Red Cross
In coordination with the FDA, the Red Cross, along with blood industry partners, is seeking people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients. People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease. To learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.
Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Teams
The Central Nebraska MRC assisted in the setup of a drive-thru testing site in Kearney. The Central Nebraska MRC has also been assisting local health departments with the pickup and distribution of Strategic National Stockpile supplies for COVID-19 response, and have been requested to assist in COVID-19 contact tracing for two local health departments.
MRC volunteers from both the Eastern Nebraska/Western Iowa MRC and the Southeast Nebraska have been supporting the Three Rivers Health Department with contact tracing and will continue to do so for the next few weeks. The Eastern Nebraska/Western Iowa and Southeast Nebraska are also working with Public Health Solutions in Crete to organize a deployment of members to the area to assist in COVID-19 response.
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. The MRC Unit Coordinator Leadership has been working with DHHS to help affiliate volunteers to assist in local COVID-19 responses throughout Nebraska. Those interested in volunteering with their local MRC can contact Quinn Lewandowski at email@example.com.
Natural Resources Districts (NRDs):
Want to visit an NRD recreation area? Check for closures and access limitations by visiting: www.nrdnet.org/recreation.
NRD employees doing field work are essential workers. Landowners and the public should allow them to do their work uninterrupted.
University of Nebraska Medical Center | Nebraska Medicine
UNMC experts answer questions about COVID-19 https://www.unmc.edu/coronavirus/media.html
Center for Disease Control and Prevention The CDC provides guidance on daily life and coping during
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)/Center for Disease Control https://faq.coronavirus.gov/
National Institutes of Health https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.gov Rumor Control How to Help
Federal Bureau of Prisons https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/index.jsp
Internal Revenue Service https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments
U.S. Department of Treasury Resources for Financial Relief Assistance for Small Businesses.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Coronavirus Veteran FAQ
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety and COVID_19 FDA COVID-19 webpage
U.S. Small Business Administration www.SBA.gov/Coronavirus
Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 map with world case information Johns Hopkins Resource Center.
Mayo Clinic information about COVID-19 COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool website
World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Pandemic information Public Advice