Nebraska Joint Information Center Update
RELEASE DATE: Mar 26, 2020
Governor Pete Ricketts’ Office Gov. Ricketts’s news releases
NEW Please consider subscribing to the Governor's Office news release list to stay up-to-date on new information released from the Governor’s office. You can subscribe by visiting: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/NEGOV/subscriber/new
The Governor has been holding daily news conferences at 2 p.m. to address the state’s #COVID19 response. The news conferences are live streamed at http://netnebraska.org/ (scroll down to today’s live streaming section.) Today Gov. Ricketts is encouraged people to donate blood as the American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage as many blood drives have being cancelled across the country due to COVID-19 concerns. Nebraskans can ensure an available blood supply by safely donating today. Schedule and appointment at redcrossblood.org/.
Gov. Ricketts said he is pleased that Nebraskans are coming together and doing the right thing by following the guidelines of limiting public gatherings to 10 people or fewer.
The Nebraska Legislature advanced LB1198 to provide $83.6 million to the Governor's Emergency Fund to aid in the fight of the COVID-19 virus spread.
The money will go to the Department of Health and Human Services and the University of Nebraska Medical Center for such things as medical and laboratory equipment, personal protective equipment, UV light boxes, staffing and testing. The money will go from the state's rainy day fund to the governor's emergency fund to the military department for a new program: the Governor's Emergency Program — COVID-19.
Small Business Administration Designation:
Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Orders Directed Health Measures https://lincoln.ne.gov/city/covid19/ In response to a third lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a community acquired case, a Directed Health Measure has been ordered in Lancaster County effective at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 26. For more information visit: https://lincoln.ne.gov/city/covid19/pdf/directed-health-measure-20200325.pdf
NEW The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) continues to identify significant numbers of COVID-19 infections in people who recently traveled to other areas of the U.S. or internationally, with spread to other Nebraskans. Data shows more than 80 percent of confirmed cases in the state are either travel related or by close contact with someone who recently traveled. Check out the DHHS news release on Recommendations for Travelers Returning to Nebraska to Limit COVID-19 Spread.
DHHS 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: 64 positives; 1,304 negatives as of 2 p.m. 3/25/20 (Numbers now include negative results from NPHL and commercial labs).
Gov. Pete Ricketts Dr. Gary Anthone, chief medical officer for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Matthew L. Blomstedt, commissioner of education for Nebraska will answer questions during a one-hour NET News town hall meeting about COVID-19 and Nebraska’s response during a special episode of the discussion program "Speaking of Nebraska" which will air Thursday at 7 p.m. CT on NET, NET Radio and streaming online.
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)
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency https://nema.nebraska.gov/news
NEW With the effective end of the school year, future Directed Health Measures will be implemented by Public Health Boundaries rather than ESU boundaries.
Businesses and individuals do not need to be placed on an essential business or worker list with the State of Nebraska. 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.
Department of Corrections https://corrections.nebraska.gov/ndcs-coronavirus-health-update
NEW NDCS Director Scott R. Frakes and Medical Director Dr. Harbans Deol talk about the agency's latest efforts to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in a new video aired today on the agency’s COVID-19 webpage.
Department of Economic Development https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/nded-covid19/
DED is working to inform and assist businesses during Nebraska’s ongoing response to COVID-19. Information for businesses is available on the DED website. DED is committed to serving Nebraskans facing financial challenges during this time, and understands that local economic leaders will play an important role in creating regional solutions for businesses and their workforce. The department’s Field Services Team is working with business leaders in these regions to address ongoing COVID-19 challenges.
Department of Environment and Energy http://dee.ne.gov
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
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
The National Rural Transit Assistance Program is hosting a peer roundtable on Thursday, March 26 from 1 to 2 p.m. CDT (12 to 1 p.m. MDT) for an informal discussion COVID-19 issues affecting rural transit managers. Ask questions of your peers and share your experience and lessons learned.
No need to register. RSVP to request a calendar invite or to suggest a topic.
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 Drive, or online at visitnorthplatte.com/outdoor-recreation/
Nebraska Attorney General’s Office COVID-19 Information
NEW Today, Attorney General Peterson joined a letter with 32 Attorneys General urging Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart, and Craigslist to more rigorously monitor price gouging practices by online sellers using their services.
Nebraska Military Department
NEW The Nebraska National Guard continues to support whole-of-government humanitarian efforts in response to COVID-19 pandemic by activating drill-status Guardsmen to provide planning support to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Governor’s Office. Starting this week, Soldiers and Airmen will work as liaison officers supporting planning for DHHS and the Governor’s Office. “These planners have a broad understanding of the Nebraska National Guard’s capabilities and will help inform leaders in our partner agencies as they make decisions,” said Col. Jan Behn, Nebraska National Guard director of joint operations.
Nebraska State Patrol
The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) continues to encourage drivers to follow all traffic laws. Any motorist can report a dangerous driver by calling the NSP Highway Helpline at *55 or 800-525-5555.
Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office
Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Unclaimed Property Division offices are closed to the public. Treasurer’s Office staff are available by phone at 402-471-8497 or 877-572-9688 and will continue to process claims mailed into the Lincoln office or filed online.
Office of the Chief Information Officer Website
Malicious cyber threat actors are capitalizing on the global attention surrounding COVID-19 to facilitate scams, distribute malware, and send phishing emails. We ask all Nebraskans to practice the following safe security habits online:
Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts or calls related to COVID-19. (Tips for Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-014)
Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments. (Tips for Using Caution with Email Attachments: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-010)
Use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
Look at the email address, not just the sender. A genuine email from a legitimate organization would have the organization’s name in the domain name, indicating that it is coming from someone at the organization.
Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations.
Look for obvious grammatical errors and be wary of any emails that have implied consequences for failure to comply with demands.
Homeland Security is encouraging state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments to reference known official resources on COVID-19 information. Members can read more about COVID-19 related scams at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resource here.
Public Service Commission
NEW The Nebraska Public Service Commission has entered an order (NUSF-92) that will allow telecommunications carriers to seek reimbursement for providing service to low-income families as a part of the response to the COVID-19 emergency. The order makes one million dollars available through the NUSF Broadband Adoption program to assist carriers in providing low-income subscriber’s access to broadband to facilitate online learning. Read the PSC news release on the grant program at http://tiny.cc/NewPSCGrant
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.