Nebraska Joint Information Center Update
RELEASE DATE: Mar 24, 2020
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency https://nema.nebraska.gov/news
NEW Businesses and individuals do not need to be placed on an essential business or worker list with the State of Nebraska. No restrictions or limitations have been placed on commerce in the state. Businesses have been asked to follow the rules of limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people and individuals should continue to practice social distancing when meeting in these small groups. No travel restrictions have been imposed at this time.
Governor Pete Ricketts’ Office Gov. Ricketts’s news releases
NEW As testing for COVID-19 expands in the state, Gov. Ricketts announced at his daily news conference that more people will be identified as having the virus. He reported that as the testing expands the number will rise and people should not be alarmed, it is expected.
The Governor’s weekly column was released today and focuses on the War Against the Virus. It is available online at: https://governor.nebraska.gov/press/war-against-virus
Gov. Rickets announced that Nebraskans will have until July 15 to pay state income taxes. For Nebraskans impacted by COVID-19, this change will give them additional flexibility. Nebraskans who are not impacted by the virus should consider filing by the traditional April 15th date.
Gov. Ricketts called on Nebraskans to make appointments to donate blood. The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage as many blood drives are being cancelled across the country due to coronavirus concerns.
Small Business Administration Designation:
Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or
NEW The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and its partners continue to track the unfolding outbreak of respiratory illness caused COVID-19 and anticipate its impact on Nebraska and its health care system. Nebraska case information is updated as new numbers are available on the DHHS website.
Current case numbers are: 61 positives; 1,304 negatives as of 2 p.m.3/24/20 (Numbers now include negative results from NPHL and commercial labs).
DHHS reminds you of the importance of Flattening The Curve - History Tells Us Why Community Mitigation Strategies Matter
The Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line is (402) 552-6645. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST – every day.
State agencies are sharing information using the #NECOVID19 Hashtag
Health Care Provider Information (HAN)
Department of Corrections https://corrections.nebraska.gov/ndcs-coronavirus-health-update
The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) is working to help minimize the transmission of COVID-19. Team members and people incarcerated in its facilities have been advised that sanitary precautions are currently the best defense against contracting the illness.
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 challenges.
Department of Environment and Energy http://dee.ne.gov
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s Wastewater Division would like to remind people that sanitizing wipes, baby wipes and even “flushable” wipes are not flushable — regardless of what the product states. Flushed wipes cause sewer system blockages, resulting in overflows from manholes and basement backups. This can lead to expensive repairs and damage to your municipal systems or homes. Please throw sanitizing wipes in the trash.
Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Information
Unemployment claims should be filed online at NEworks.nebraska.gov or on the free NEworks mobile app. For more information visit: Short-Time Compensation FAQs https://dol.nebraska.gov/PressRelease/Details/141
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.
Department of Revenue Revenue Ruling 99-20-1: All Nebraska Taxes, Signature Requirements
NEW 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.
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 Transportation
NDOT reopened all rest areas on Friday, March 20 in an effort to support those transporting vital goods and services across the nation to those who need it most. Contractors on site will clean and sanitize the buildings during normal daytime hours. Travelers are reminded to wash hands, avoid unnecessary touching of surfaces and to maintain social distancing whenever possible. Continue to check 511.nebraska.gov for updated information on availability.
Game and Parks http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
Nebraska Game and Parks’ public buildings are temporarily closed to public walk-in traffic until further notice. A list can be found at http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
All events and activities are cancelled through May 31 or until further notice.
State parks and recreation areas grounds remain open for day-use, fishing and recreation.
Park permits, fishing permits, and hunting permits should be purchased in advance online at OutdoorNebraska.org.
In a proactive state and national effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health of its customers and staff, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is closing viewing blinds to public access. The commission aims to protect its staff and customers by removing opportunities for crowds to gather at facilities and events and by maintaining clean areas that are available to the public.
Enjoying the crane migration is available by using several driving routes from North Platte to Hershey. Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area has a scenic drive-through where cranes can be seen flying across the North Platte River and feeding in the adjacent meadows. Early mornings and late evenings, you can watch the cranes fly over the North Platte River at Cody Park in North Platte. The North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau has a self-guided Sandhill crane driving route brochure, which is available from their office located at 101 Halligan Dr. or online at visitnorthplatte.com/outdoor-recreation/
Nebraska Attorney General’s Office COVID 19 Information
NEW Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson today issued guidance and a warning to Nebraskans to avoid potential scams related to coronavirus (COVID-19). Unfortunately, scammers often exploit difficult times by preying on the consumer’s fear and sense of urgency. Attorney General Peterson reminds Nebraskans that he and his office are diligently monitoring and investigating consumer complaints related to COVID-19.
To avoid falling victim to a scam, keep in mind the following tips:
Disregard solicitations offering “miracle” drugs or remedies to cure or prevent coronavirus (COVID-19). Currently, there are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure coronavirus according to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Ignore calls or texts requesting your personal information. Our office has received reports of Nebraskans receiving calls and texts asking for personal information under the guises it is needed to “release funds” or “verify a relief check” from the government.
Research before donating. Donations to legitimate charitable entities are needed now more than ever. Don’t let scammers prey on your generosity. Before you give, research the organization by visiting its website and confirming its charitable registration status with the IRS. Keep in mind, many sham charities use names that appear similar to legitimate organizations.
Attorney General Peterson’s consumer-focused website offers additional tips for protecting yourself against scams, researching charities, and safeguarding your personal information.
Nebraska Military Department
All unit training assemblies for the remainder of March and all of April have been postponed.
Mission critical activities continue, such as units preparing to deploy overseas and aircraft flight crews maintaining qualification.
The Army Basic Leader Course at Camp Ashland for March was accelerated and concluded March 21, five days ahead of schedule.
The Army Basic Leader Course scheduled for April at Camp Ashland will not be conducted in-person, but distance learning options are being evaluated.
Maintaining mission readiness and the health of our force are our top priorities, to be always ready when called upon, not only for COVID-19 response but other potential emergencies as well.
Nebraska State Patrol
NEW Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) are still working to keep Nebraska roads safe and reminding drivers to do their part as well.
“There may be fewer people on the road these days, but it’s imperative that those who are traveling drive safely,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Most of the traffic that’s moving right now is vital to the effort against the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether that’s food, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, or any number of other products in high demand, safe roads ensure that our country’s dedicated truck drivers and the critical items they haul reach their destination.”
In the last week, troopers have cited 20 drivers for traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour. Overall, troopers have stopped more than 750 drivers for speeding in the last week. More than 250 of those drivers were cited for speeding at greater than 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. NSP reminds drivers to follow the posted speed limits on all roads throughout Nebraska.
As always, 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
NEW 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
Telecommunications Carriers doing business in Nebraska are asked to take the “Keep Nebraskans Connected” pledge. The pledge is similar to the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected pledge only for Nebraskans. Carriers that have agreed to participate are listed at: http://tiny.cc/KeepNebraskansConnected
State Fire Marshal
Inspections of nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities by the State Fire Marshal’s office have been suspended until April 8. In addition, training classes administered by NSFM training specialists are canceled through March 31.
A virtual visitor system to keep veterans’ home members and their families connected while the facilities are limiting entry has been launched by the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA). Access to the four state veterans’ homes is currently limited to NDVA teammates and medical professionals only, as a precaution against COVID-19 exposure.
The Lancaster County Veteran’s Service Center is closed to the public. The office is open but no longer accepting walk-ins for claims assistance and other in-person services. Veterans with claims specific or other questions may request information via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 402-441-7361. Veterans can continue to get information about benefits by visiting www.lancaster.ne.gov/484/veterans-service-center.
County Courthouse Updates https://nacone.org/pdfs/COVID-19/COVID%20-%2019%20Map.pdf
Key Facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cdc.gov/COVID-19
FACT 1 — Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus.
FACT 2 — For most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
FACT 3 — Someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation does not pose a risk of infection to other people. For up-to-date information, visit CDC’s coronavirus disease situation summary page.
FACT 4 — There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
FACT 5 — You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
Resources collected by the Nebraska Association of Emergency Management:
Please verify the source of all information you receive regarding COVID-19. Not all information shared online or via social media is accurate. Misunderstandings can cause confusion. Please do your part to make sure accurate information is being dispersed. The following are some of the rumors (myths) being circulated regarding COVID-19 as well as the verified information from the Nebraska Joint Information Center public information officers.
MYTH: Omaha residents have been asked to shelter in place.
FACT: There is no lockdown in Omaha
MYTH: The National Guard has been activated to lock down Omaha, cordon off Omaha or cordon off the four counties affected by the Directed Health Measure (DHM).
FACT: No, the guard has not been activated to lockdown Omaha or the four counties under the Directed Health Measure (DHM).
The DHM imposed an enforceable limit on public gatherings and applies to all communities in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. The measure was a result of Douglas County Public Health Department’s confirmation on March 19 of a second case of community transmission of COVID-19.
The DHM will be in effect until April 30. It requires restaurants and bars in these counties to close their dining areas 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.
MYTH: I need to stockpile as many groceries and supplies as I can.
FACT: Buy what your family needs for a week. Consumer demand has been exceptionally high for grocery, household cleaning and some healthcare products. Freight flows are not disrupted, but stores need time to restock.
u Every American has a role to play.
Do your part to prevent rumors by verifying the source of information.
You can also consider donating cash, giving blood or volunteering your time to help fight COVID-19.