Nebraska Joint Information Center Update

RELEASE DATE: May 08, 2020

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Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy:

  1. Stay home. Do not take unnecessary trips outside the home. Respect the 10-person limit.

  2. Socially distance your work. Work from home or use the six-foot rule as much as possible in the workplace.

  3. Shop alone and only shop once a week. Do not take family with you.

  4. Help kids follow social distancing. Play at home. No group sports and no playgrounds.

  5. Help seniors stay at home by shopping for them. Do not visit long-term care facilities.

  6. Exercise daily at home or with an appropriately socially-distanced activity.

Gov. Ricketts reminded citizens that team sports are not permitted per the state directed healthcare measure.

Games and practices are not permitted under the DHM and misdemeanor citations can be issued to those who ignore the rule.


COVID-19 Case Updates


Nebraska                 Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard

                          7,190 positive tests —  33,222 negative tests  —   90 deaths


Leading Counties (Cities)

Hospital Beds

Hall (Grand Island)


Staffed Beds


Douglas (Omaha)  


Percent of Beds Available


Dakota (South Sioux City)


Percent of ICU Available


Dawson (Lexington) 


Percent of Vents Available


Lancaster (Lincoln)






28 counties report no cases

11 counties have only 1 case

Colfax (Schuyler)


Saline (Crete)


Platte (Columbus


Madison (Norfolk, Madison)


Adams (Hastings)



United States         Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

                              1,219,066 cases  —  73,297 deaths

Globally                 World Health Organization Situation Report

                              3, 759,967 cases  — 259,474 deaths

                              Johns Hopkins University of Medicine COVID-19 Dashboard

                              3,907,055 cases  —  272,578 deaths         


State of Nebraska Updates

Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office

NEW At his 2 p.m. news conference today, Gov. Ricketts shared information on Nebraska’s Memorial Day Observance 2020. An online Memorial Day observance is being hosted by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA).

The Nebraska’s Memorial Day Observance 2020 will be a virtual event live streamed, in partnership with NET, from the Rotunda of the Nebraska State Capitol. It will start at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 25, with the lighting of a ceremonial candle by a Gold Star Mother. Over the course of the day, honor guard sentinels will stand watch in half-hour shifts until the candle is extinguished at 8 p.m. by a Gold Star Father. Veteran service organizations can sign up for an honor guard sentinel time slot, on a first-served basis, at Nebraskans can watch the stream at, or

NDVA Director John Hilgert joined Gov. Ricketts at the news conference and shared information on the department’s newly launched live chat feature on its website to virtually connect with veterans: NDVA has implemented the new live chat feature to allow veterans to connect with a state veteran service officer (VSO) virtually.

Accredited VSOs are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to assist veterans with filing first and supplemental claims, appealing USVA decisions, answering questions regarding pending claims, and providing appropriate USVA forms and assisting with completing them.

The Veterans Affairs Regional Office, 3800 Village Drive, houses the NDVA State Service Office and has been closed to the public since March 23. State VSOs have been using phone calls and video conferencing to continue serving veterans, but will now have the ability to quickly field questions directly through the website.

Veterans can use the virtual VSO live chat feature by visiting and clicking the “Chat with a State Service Officer now!” button at the bottom right of the web page.


As the state continues its battle against coronavirus, every Nebraskan can help to keep Nebraska healthy and get Nebraska moving again. Crush the curve and beat the virus by going to and taking a quick five-minute assessment. This assessment will help determine where testing needs to occur. Nebraskans at risk of exposure to the virus will be contacted to schedule an appointment to get tested.  Please take five minutes and go to to get assessed. Testing sites are opens in Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha.

Tests are being performed free of charge even if an individual does not have health insurance. Additionally, no one will be denied treatment for COVID-19 because of an inability to pay. The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal where health care providers who have tested or treated individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis can submit claims for reimbursement.

Jason Jackson, director of the Department of Administrative Services  (DAS), also joined Gov. Rickett’s news conference to announce four initiatives that the state is introducing.

Jackson reported that the state is working to support all of its teammates. He noted that women make up 54 percent of the state’s workforce, and with Sunday being Mother’s Day, he wanted to announce the new initiatives as follows:

  • All state managed buildings larger than 5,000 square feet will have mother’s room accommodations for nursing mothers.

  • The state is enriching its primary health care plan to reduce costs for maternity and childbirth health care by 75 percent so that the out-of-pocket cost will not exceed $500.

  • Expectant and new mother’s will be able to participate in a priority parking program for a year.

  • A pilot program at DAS called the Workplace for Families program will allow parents to bring their children to work.

Jackson said the initiatives are a continuation of Gov. Ricketts and the state’s efforts towards supporting families.

NEW Military Department

A total of 407 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are supporting COVID-19 response efforts in Nebraska.

On Friday, a Nebraska National Guard support team of 10 personnel helped open and operate a third Test Nebraska location in Lincoln at the Lancaster Events Center in cooperation with CHI Health. Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha are the first three sites of the Test Nebraska initiative, which is aimed at significantly expanding testing capacity in the state over the next several weeks. Six mobile testing teams and two test site support teams are now providing support to local health districts and the Test Nebraska initiative. As of May 7, the teams have collected 12,946 test samples in support of 18 health department districts and 26 counties across the state.

Soldiers and Airmen continue to support food packaging with Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha, and food packaging and distribution with Food Bank of Lincoln.

On Saturday, May 9, the National Guard will support the largest single-day distribution event in Food Bank history at Fonner Park in Grand Island. Members of the media are invited to attend a news conference on Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. at Fonner Park, south side of the Tom Dinsdale Automotive Cattle Barn, (700 E Stolley Park Road, Grand Island, NE 68801. Additional details for media access are available from Food Bank for the Heartland.

The Nebraska National Guard will be updating this album with photos throughout the COVID-19 response.


NEW Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) COVID-19 Information | DHHS News Releases

Several new guidance documents are available under the Reopening Guidelines section including:

  • Recommended Best Practices for Barbers and Salons

  • Recommended Best Practices for Massage Therapy

  • Recommended Best Practices for Body Art (Branding, Body Piercing, Permanent Color Technology and Tattooing)

  • Nebraska Dental Association Recommended Office Re-opening Protocols

  • Guidelines for the Conduct of Faith-Based Services Including Weddings and Funerals Held in Houses of Worship

  • Restaurant In-Room Dining Reopening Guidelines

The guidelines for restaurant re-openings are now online at: or in Spanish at:

COVID-19 Dashboard now includes hospitalization data:

Dashboard link:

Other DHHS Links and Information COVID-19 Information | DHHS News Releases

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  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,, 402-471-0972

Department of Agriculture (NDA)

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:

Department of Banking and Finance

The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance is extending its temporary suspension of examinations of financial institutions from April 24 to May 15. 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 Statement on Examinations is online here.

Department of Corrections

NDCS has COVID-19 related information on its webpage at

Department of Economic Development

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     

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:

Additional new items on the NDEE COVID-19 webpage include:

  • NDEE has developed a new guidance document, “Emergency Disposal of Animal Carcasses Associated with a Non-Disease-Related Mass Mortality Event” to help Nebraska livestock producers plan to deal with catastrophic animal mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. The URL to the mass mortality guidance page is

  • 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

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

Department of Labor   and

The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) report 6,351 new unemployment insurance claims were filed during the week ending May 2. This is a decrease of more than 20 percent from the previous week when 8,002 initial claims were filed. Spreadsheets showing claims data are available here and will be updated every Thursday.

Initial Claims

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.

Continued Weeks Claimed

There were 64,420 continued weeks of unemployment claimed last week. Continued weeks refer to the individual weeks of unemployment claimed after a person applies for benefits. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the highest number of continued weeks was in the second week of 2010 when there were 26,075 continued weeks claimed.  There were 16,566 continued weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimed last week.

Claims by Industry

The highest counts of initial claims were in manufacturing (847), which decreased 1.6 percent from the prior week (861). This is the first time Manufacturing is the top industry for initial claims since the spike in claims due to COVID-19. Most industries had declines in initial claims from the prior week. Public Administration saw an increase of 32.7.

Benefit Payments The chart below shows individuals paid over time.  Increases can be seen with the start of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments and the Governor’s April 30 Executive Order. Regular and PUA benefits paid each week can be found here.

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 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

Gov. Ricketts’ executive order 20-05 extends the expiration date of all valid driver’s licenses, CDLs, state IDs, titles, and registrations due to expire on or after March 1st. All credentials will remain valid until 30 days after the order has been lifted. While nobody is required to renew their license or registrations, online services are available at for those who wish to do so. Drive tests are not being provided at any locations statewide; however, some offices do remain open for walk in services.

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 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

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.

Game and Parks Commission

Nebraskans may begin enjoying recreational vehicle camping by reservation only at select state park areas starting May 20. Park areas will be selected based on where social distancing and group-size recommendations can be maintained for public health.

State designated beach and swimming areas will be closed until further notice, in part due to recent incidents at multiple state park venues. All other current closures to facilities will be extended through May 31.

“We sympathize with those who have been affected by this virus and the rippling effects of trying to contain it, and we appreciate the patience and understanding of people who are passionate about camping,” Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas said.

Our park grounds remain open for day-use activities, such as fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.

For more information:


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 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.

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

NEMA continues to operate the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) with three conference calls each week among the emergency support function coordinators, weekly calls with county emergency managers and daily Joint Information Center calls with public information officers.

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 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

Nebraska State Troopers continue to assist the state’s COVID-19 response by providing on-site security at several testing locations throughout the state. This effort include several teams of troopers who have traveled throughout the state during the past several weeks. Troopers have also taken on the task of transporting test samples collected at various testing locations to the state testing lob at St. Elizabeth’s Regional Medical Center as part of the Test Nebraska initiative.

Troopers and Investigators also remain focused on the mission of keeping Nebraska safe. If anyone needs assistance on the road or sees an impaired or dangerous driver, they can call *55 or 800-525-5555 to reach the NSP Highway Helpline.

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:

  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. Tips for Using Caution with 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.

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:

Public Service Commission

The PSC is reminding natural gas customers that a moratorium suspending residential disconnections of natural gas services for non-payment for Black Hills Energy and NorthWestern Energy customers remains in place through June 1, 2020. Read more @

Secretary of State’s Office

Realtors across the state are volunteering to serve as polls workers in the Primary Election on May 12, said Nebraska REALTORS® Association President Steve Coram, of Kearney. Realtors and others who wish to step up and sign up as poll workers can do so by contacting their county clerks or county election commissioners.

Every polling site will receive kits that include:

  • At least 2 N95 masks per poll worker

  • Face shields offered to each poll worker

  • 25 pairs of gloves for poll workers

  • 540 ml bottle of hand sanitizer

  • A canister of disinfecting wipes

  • Individual black pens for each voter to keep

  • Social distancing standards will apply.

  • Mask available for voters who need them

You can also help by sharing the opportunity with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and anyone else who may be a good fit. Contact your local county clerk’s or election commissioner’s office by phone or email if you wish to serve as a poll worker.

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

Nebraska Food Security Task Force

Helping Nebraskans who now need to rely upon food banks, pantries and school lunch programs for their next meal is the goal of the Nebraska Food Security Task Force. People who could previously meet their food needs are now temporarily unable to do so.

Since there are fewer volunteers available to help distribute food because of social distancing precautions, the food banks are not accepting food donations at this time. There are still ways to help.

  • Donate Funds—Your financial donations can be used to purchase the necessary food items in larger quantities directly from suppliers.

  • Sponsor a fundraiser. Is your business or church operating remotely, but still wanting to help your community? There are many fun and creative ways your organizations can engage your employees, or members, while raising money to support the food bank.

To donate: visit the Food Bank for the Heartland which serves Nebraska and western Iowa at or the Food Bank of Lincoln which serves 16 counties in Southeast Nebraska at

Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Teams

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) 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

Natural Resources Districts (NRDs):

Want to visit an NRD recreation area? Check for closures and access limitations by visiting:

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

Federal Partners

Federal Emergency Management Agency     Rumor Control     How to Help

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

National Institutes of Health

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Internal Revenue Service

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

Other Resources

NEW Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has developed resources to make it easier for consumers without a bank account to find a bank that can open an account online without going into a branch.  In addition, the FDIC has developed a new webpage dedicated to helping consumers get the information they need to receive economic impact payment (AKA stimulus check) electronically.

Also two resources to help consumers are included on the webpage:

  1. A link to Bank On Coalition’s list of banks that offer remote account opening with a $0 balance. 

  2. A link to the American Banker Association’s list of banks that offer remote account opening all across the country (developed in response to the COVID-19 situation), along with additional resources for consumers. 

Once someone opens their account, they can then provide the information to the IRS to receive the payments electronically through the IRS portal.

FDIC’s Receiving Economic Impact Payment Page:



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