Nebraska Joint Information Center Update

RELEASE DATE: May 21, 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.


COVID-19 Case Updates

Nebraska                 Department of Health and Human Services Dashboard

                          11,122 positive tests —  64,518 negative tests  —   138 deaths


Leading Counties (Cities)

Hospital Beds

Douglas (Omaha)  


Staffed Beds


Dakota (South Sioux City)


Percent of Beds Available


Hall (Grand Island)


Percent of ICU Available


Lancaster (Lincoln)


Percent of Vents Available


Dawson (Lexington)





24 counties report no cases

10 counties have only 1 case



Source: DHHS Dashboard

Colfax (Schuyler)


Platte (Columbus)


Saline (Crete)


Sarpy (Bellevue, Papillion)


Dodge (Fremont)


Madison (Norfolk, Madison)


Adams (Hastings)



United States         Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

                              1,551, 950 cases  —  93,061 deaths

Globally                 World Health Organization Situation Report  (WHO Numbers are from May 20)

                              4,789,205 cases  — 318,789 deaths

                              Johns Hopkins University of Medicine COVID-19 Dashboard

                              5,047,377 cases  —  329,816 deaths


State of Nebraska Updates

Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office

NEW At his 2 p.m. news conference today, Gov. Pete Ricketts said 89 of Nebraska counties will move to Phase Two restrictions while the Central Health District and Dakota County will move to Phase One of loosened restrictions.


Outline of Changes to Upcoming DHMs Phase II Statewide Changes starting June 1

? Travel Quarantine

  • All individuals returning from international travel only will be required to quarantine upon returning to Nebraska for 14 days.

  • The restriction will not apply to individuals traveling in connection with military service or in connection with employment at a health care facility.

? Sports

  • Team sports have been categorized by contact level (contact, limited-contact, non-contact) based on guidance from the April 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics Classification of Sports According to Contact. These categories will used for determining the opening of different team sports.

  • Limited and Non-contact team sports including baseball, softball, and volleyball practices may begin June 1.

  • Limited and Non-contact team sports including baseball, softball, and volleyball games may begin June 18.

  • Rodeo events may also begin starting June 1.

  • “June 1 Statewide Sports Reopening Guidelines” must be followed for both youth and adults.

♦ Rodeos are permitted to follow Gatherings DHM requirements.

♦ School gyms and weight rooms are permitted to follow gyms, fitness centers/clubs, health clubs, and health spas DHM requirements.

  • Contact sports like basketball, tackle football, soccer, wrestling, etc. remain prohibited.


Starting June 1, the following guidelines apply to all counties except for those located in Central District Health Department (Hall, Hamilton, Merrick) and Dakota County Health Dept. (Dakota)

? Bars & Restaurants

  • Restaurants remain open for dine-in and Bars, Bottle Clubs, and Gentlemen’s Clubs can reopen.

♦ Patrons will be required to be seated while on premise unless they are placing an order or using the restroom.

  • Limited to 50% of rated occupancy maximum at a time.

  • Six (6) feet separation between seating of different parties.

  • Six (6) feet of separation between entertainers, performers, dancers, and patrons.

  • Maximum of six (6) individuals in a party (groups larger than six (6) will need to split into multiple tables).

  • Food may not be consumed at bar seating.

  • Games such as pool, darts, arcade games, etc. are prohibited.

? Childcare Facilities

  • Will remain at not more than 15 children per room/space.

♦ All other state provisions, statutes, and regulations, including child to staff ratios, still apply.

? Gatherings

  • Gatherings will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 25% of rated occupancy (not to exceed 3,000) for gatherings held at:

♦ Indoor or Outdoor Arenas, Indoor or Outdoor Auctions, Stadiums, Tracks, Fairgrounds, Festivals, Zoos, Auditoriums, Large Event Conference Rooms, Meeting Halls, Indoor Theaters, Libraries, Swimming Pools, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.

? Groups shall be no larger than six (6) individuals.

? Six (6) feet separation between groups must be maintained.

  • Parades, carnivals, midways, dances and street dances, and beer gardens are prohibited through

June 30 and may be extended.

♦ Parades where patrons remain in their vehicles and the public does not line the streets are permitted.

♦ Dance recitals are permitted but must follow the gathering requirements.

  • Drive-in movie theaters may open at full capacity as long as patrons remain in/on their vehicles while viewing the movie and congregating at concession and restroom areas are not permitted.

  • Plans for reopening must be submitted to the local health departments and approved for all indoor and outdoor locations/venues that hold 500 or more individuals (1,000 or more in counties over 500,000 population) before reopening is permitted. The reopening plan must contain planned number of guests, how the location will meet social distancing guidelines, and sanitation guidelines.

? Gyms, Fitness Centers/Clubs, Health Clubs, & Health Spas

  • Will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 50% of rated occupancy.

  • Must ensure a minimum distance of six (6) feet be maintained between all patrons.

? Salons, Barber Shops, Massage Therapy Services, & Tattoo Parlors/Body Art Facilities

  • Will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 50% of rated occupancy.

  • Chairs/stations must remain at least six (6) feet apart.

  • Both workers and patrons are still required in the DHM to wear masks at all times.

♦ An exception will be made for services provided by estheticians. Patrons will be permitted to remove their mask while receiving services directly. The mask must be worn by the patron at all other times while on the premise.

? Wedding & Funeral Reception Venues

  • Will be limited to the greater of 25 people (excluding staff) or 50% of rated occupancy.

  • Six (6) feet separation between seating of different parties.

  • Maximum of six (6) individuals in a party (groups larger than six (6) will need to split into multiple tables).

  • Self-serve buffets and salad bars are prohibited. Venue staff must serve food directly to all individuals.

  • No dances or other social events that require guests to gather outside of their respective tables are permitted.

Starting June 1, all counties located in Central District Health Dept. (Hall, Hamilton, Merrick) and Dakota County Health Dept. (Dakota) will be reissued DHMs with Phase I Requirements


NEW Gov. Pete Ricketts Governor’s Update and Contact Tracing on NET’s May 21 COVID-19 Town Hall

Gov. Ricketts will update Nebraskans about the spread of COVID-19, especially in rural areas, and how contact tracing can be an effective tool to reduce infection rates during a one-hour NET News town hall meeting airing at 8:30 p.m. CT, tonight on NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR Stations. Dr. Angela Hewlett, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and medical director of the Nebraska Biocontainment, and Felicia Quintana-Zinn, deputy director within the Division of Public Health of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will join Gov. Ricketts.

UPDATED Visit 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. This week testing sites are open Monday through Saturday in Lincoln and Omaha;  and in Dakota City and Scottsbluff on Thursday and Friday. Next week testing is planned in Hastings, Kearney, York, Seward, Beatrice and Clay Center.

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.


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


Guidance documents are available at:

Other DHHS Links and Information


Attorney General’s Office

NEW Today, Attorney General Doug Peterson joined a coalition of state attorneys general urging Congress to pass S.3607, the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act. The act would permit the families of first responders, who die or are permanently and totally disabled as a result of COVID-19, to receive the same federal benefits extended to first responders, or their survivors, otherwise killed or injured in the line of duty. Current federal law only allows survivors access to certain benefits if evidence is provided, proving the deceased or permanently disabled first responder contracted COVID-19 while on duty.


Additionally, Attorney General Peterson joined 38 attorneys general in urging Congress to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity necessary to participate in telemedicine, teleschooling, and telework as part of any additional legislation that provides relief and recovery resources related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Department of Agriculture

NEW County Fairs and Livestock Shows/Events:

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with representatives of the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers, the Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Extension, Nebraska FFA and several local health departments, has created guidance documents for county fair officials and livestock show managers to utilize as they work to determine what their event may look like in 2020. This guidance and additional agriculture-related information can be found on NDA’s website at:


NEW AFAN Offers Grants for Food Pantries, Requests Donations:

Food pantries are under a lot of pressure right now to provide food to those in need, and the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) is working to assist. AFAN, in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and various commodity organizations, announced a grant program designed to help food pantries purchase needed refrigerator and freezer units to store perishable food. Refrigerators and freezers allow food pantries to safely store milk, dairy products, meat, fresh produce and other perishable goods that their clients want and need.


AFAN is administering this grant program which allows food pantries to receive up to $4,000 for refrigerators, freezers and associated expenses. Full details on the program and an application to apply can be found on AFAN’s website,, or by calling 402-421-4472.


Refrigeration units have already been purchased for several food pantries in Nebraska, but the demand continues to grow. AFAN is seeking monetary donations so they can continue to help more food pantries in the state purchase the equipment they need. Individuals and companies that wish to support this project with monetary donations can find more information on AFAN’s website.


“By providing funding for refrigerators and freezers, we can help food pantries with equipment that will benefit their clients for years to come,” said Steve Wellman, Director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. 


Department of Banking and Finance

NEW The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance (“Department”) has issued two new Guidance Advisories:


Game and Parks Commission

NEW The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will open first-come, first-served camping on May 22 at Smith Falls State Park, 35 state recreation areas and wildlife management areas for all camping units, including tents.


This decision is prompted by overwhelming demand for camping opportunities, challenges in bringing additional park locations and campsites into the reservation system as planned, and public comments regarding the desire to camp even without normal facilities, which will remain closed. Those include shower houses, designated swimming beaches, playgrounds, and park activities. A limited number of primitive restrooms will be available.


Read the full news release at:


Department of Transportation

NEW Traffic on State Highways Continues to Rebound

Today, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) announced that traffic volumes increased in all six categories that are being tracked to gauge the impact COVID-19 is having on statewide traffic volumes. Statewide traffic volumes were down 20 percent between May 10 and May 16 compared to the 2016-2018 average. This marks nine weeks of passenger vehicle traffic volumes being significantly below average while truck traffic continues to remain at near normal levels.  


The Traffic Count Dashboard will be updated weekly and can be viewed using the following link:


Percent Difference in Weekly Traffic Volume

compared to 2016-2018 average



Rural Highways

I-80 West of Lincoln

Omaha Streets & Hwys

Lincoln Streets & Hwys

I-80 Lincoln to Iowa,

 I-180, I-680


Remaining Small Urban Streets & Hwys

Statewide Total

March 1-7








March 8-14








March 15-21








March 22-28








March 29-April 4








April 5-11








April 12-18








April 19-25








April 26-May 2








May 3-9








May 10-16










The column descriptions are as follows:

  • Rural Highway are all non-interstate roads in areas under 5,000 population.

  • Omaha Streets & Highways include all non-interstate roads in Douglas and Sarpy counties.

  • Lincoln Streets & Highways include all non-interstate roads in Lancaster County.

  • Remaining Small Urban Streets & Highways are all roads in cities with over 5,000 population outside of Douglas, Sarpy, and Lancaster counties.  (This includes I-129).

  • Statewide Total is a weighted average of all categories.


The NDOT maintains a system of 67 continuous traffic counters statewide.  These are often called automatic traffic recorders (ATRs).  These counters collect traffic volume and classification data 24 hours per day, seven days per week.  Data is then relayed to NDOT twice per week. 


For more information/data about ATRs and links to the Annual ATR and March 2020 reports:


Military Department

NEW A total of 608 Nebraska National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have supported COVID-19 response efforts in Nebraska to date, and 422 are on duty currently for COVID-19 response missions.


The Nebraska National Guard continues to provide four mobile teams and three smaller support teams (supporting CHI Test Nebraska sites) to support local health districts. As of May 20, the teams have collected 30,249 test samples supporting all 19 of Nebraska’s local health department districts.


Soldiers and Airmen continue to support food bank packaging and distribution operations across the state.

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


Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

NEW On Monday, May 18, President  Donald J. Trump announced that Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars, provided under the CARES Act, may be used to pay for FEMA’s cost-share requirements under the Stafford Act. This additional flexibility will assist state and local governments in their continued response to and recovery from COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Treasury and FEMA are currently working on guidance to provide to states, territories, tribes who may wish to use CRF funding for this purpose.”


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 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 partnered with Nebraska lending institutions on possible loan relief for Dollar and Energy Saving Loans due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. If a borrower needs extra time to make payments, the borrower works with the lending institution to defer payments. Provided the lender meets conditions established by NDEE, the borrower can receive extended time to repay DESL loans. For more information, go to:

  • 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.

  • 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

NEW All COVID-19 insurance-related notices and guidance documents can be found at


Department of Labor   and

The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced that unemployment insurance benefit payments reached a record high during the week ending May 9. Total benefits paid were nearly $104 million, including regular benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments. Last week also saw 24,218 new individuals receive benefit payments. 


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. Employers who suspect a worker is refusing a job in order to continue collecting unemployment benefits may report these workers to  Workers with pre-existing conditions should work with their employers before being called back to work.


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.



The Nebraska Lottery mobile app has been updated with a Ticket Scanner feature. Players can check their Scratch and Lotto tickets for prizes and save a trip to a retailer. Visit 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)


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. 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


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 @


State Partner Updates

American Red Cross —The Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 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. 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

Nebraska Impact and its COVID-19 Relief Fund  — has raised more than $340,000 to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in Nebraska. The fund has distributed more than $250,000 worth of food thus far to people in some of Nebraska's hardest hit communities. To donate to the fund, visit In additionNebraskans can visit the Nebraska Impact website for information on donating cloth facemasks to Nebraska's vulnerable populations. Information on making “sew and no-sew masks” is available at Masks can be mailed to Nebraska Impact, 201 N Eighth St., Suite 215, Lincoln, NE 68508. To arrange a pickup in the Lincoln or Omaha area, email

Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Teams

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are working with local partners to respond to COVID-19 in 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


NEW U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety and COVID_19      FDA COVID-19 webpage

The USDA has announced some details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) that will provide direct relief payments to farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Information is online at The website includes payment rates and an online payment calculator will be made available at the site once the application window opens. The CFAP application window begins on May 26, and goes through Aug. 28.To ensure the availability of funding throughout the application period, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum payment upon approval of the application. The remaining 20 percent will be paid at a later time if funding remains.


Federal Emergency Management Agency     Rumor Control     How to Help

Center for Disease Control and Prevention     Guidance on daily life and coping

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Internal Revenue Service

National Institutes of Health

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)           COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)/Center for Disease Control   

U.S. Department of Treasury Resources for Financial Relief      Assistance for Small Businesses.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Coronavirus Veteran FAQ

U.S. Small Business Administration


Other Resources

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