Nebraska Joint Information Center Update
RELEASE DATE: Mar 26, 2020
Governor Pete Ricketts' Office
Gov. Ricketts reminded people to:
Stay home if they have a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
Make an appointment with their healthcare provider to determine whether they have influenza, allergies, a cold or COVID-19; and
Have all members of a household should stay home if they have been in contact with people who have the symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.
April 1 property tax deadline will not be moved.
The federal and state income tax deadline has moved to July 15. Gov. Ricketts asked a Nebraskans who have not been impacted by COVID-19 to pay by April 15 to help the state’s cash flow.
The Governor signed a Daycare Executive Order today that will allow for nonprofits, churches, hospitals, and schools to set up temporary daycares.
Testing capacity is expanding at CHI Health will begin testing tomorrow.
The Governor said we will expect to see additional cases in Nebraska due to expanded testing.
Secretary of State Robert Evnen: https://sos.nebraska.gov/elections/early-voting
The statewide primary election on May 12 will go forward as planned. Evnen encouraged people to fill out early voting ballet request forms that will be mailed out to voters or to make a request online. Applications must be completed by May 1.
The Secretary of State said it is easy to vote early by mail. You can request that a ballot be mailed to you. County election offices will begin mailing them out by no later than April 6, and no reason is needed to request a mail-in ballot. There have been about 50,000 requests for mail-in ballots so far. That is more than what Nebraska normally experiences during elections. His office and county election offices are preparing to have a higher number of requests for early voting this election. Secure ballot drop boxes are being added in all counties.
Polling site are taking steps to be prepare for safely voting. Polling site kits will be sent to every precinct in the state to reduce the spread of illness. Separation protocols will be instituted. All voters will be given an individual pen, to vote with, that they then can keep.
Evnen is asking service organizations to provide poll workers. Poll workers are paid, so this will allow service organizations a fundraising opportunity. His office is working with counties to recruit additional poll workers.
Labor Commissioner John Albin reported that 15,668 unemployment claims were filed last week, a more than 1,800% increase from the previous week. The previous highest week for unemployment filings in Nebraska was 4,003. Albin said he expects to see a many additional claims to be filed this week as well.
He reminded everyone to keep filing their weekly claims. The requests will be fast tracked because of new COVID-19 rules, however, weekly requests are still required.
Small Business Administration Designation:
Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or
NEW Two community-transmitted cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday in Nebraska—one in Lancaster County and one in Sarpy County. Community transmission is when people have COVID-19 but public health officials are unable to identify how or where they became infected.
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 tonight at 7 p.m. CDT on NET, NET Radio and streaming online.
DHHS reminds people of the importance of Flattening The Curve - History Tells Us Why Community Mitigation Strategies Matter and provides 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: 73 positives; As of March 26, 1,584 negative tests.
Numbers now include negative results from NPHL and commercial labs. Both state and local health departments are testing and publicly reporting their cases. In the event of a discrepancy between DHHS cases and cases reported by local public health officials, data reported by the local health department should be considered the most up-to-date.
Nebraska COVID-19 Information Line: (402) 552-6645. Hours are: 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 FEMA is authorized to provide emergency protective measures (Category B) not authorized under other federal statutes, including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding. The FEMA Public Assistance program provides federal funding to help communities respond and recover from disasters.
Directed health measures will now be implemented by public health boundaries rather than educational service unit (ESU) boundaries.
Department of Banking and Finance
The Department of Banking and Finance is temporarily suspending examinations of financial institutions. This move is in response to industry requests, and is consistent with our federal regulatory counterparts at the NCUA, FDIC and Federal Reserve Bank. We previously had continued examinations through today on an “off-site” or electronic capacity. The temporary cessation of examinations should facilitate banks, credit unions and other financial institutions to address loan restructuring requests and other customer service items during the emergency. https://ndbf.nebraska.gov/about/covid-19-consumer-and-industry-guidance
Department of Corrections corrections.nebraska.gov
NDCS has a COVID-19 webpage available to the public with information pertaining to the agency’s response to the virus. Go to corrections.nebraska.gov for more information.
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 Insurance NDOI Fact Sheet
Anyone who lost their health insurance because they have lost their job, is entitled to a special enrollment period to get an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan. Two carriers are currently offering ACA individual health insurance plans in Nebraska: Bright Health and Medica.
Other options available include:
Signing up for continuation of coverage if your employer had more than 20 employees (COBRA); or
Signing up for continuation of coverage if your employer had less than 20 employees AND you were “involuntarily terminated” for reasons other than misconduct (mini-COBRA).
To find out more about your Federal Marketplace, COBRA, and mini-COBRA options, click here.
For questions or additional information, contact Martin Swanson at email@example.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional insurance-related information and COVID-19 may be found
on the Department’s website at doi.nebraska.gov.
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 Natural Resources (NeDNR) remains open for business
The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources has activated a continuity-of-business plan to keep team members and the public safe during this pandemic. Team members who can work remotely are doing so at this time. Those who need to access the office are practicing social distancing and alternating work days.
We continue to be open for business; however, due to these events, there may be times when certain messages take a little longer to return. Please be patient and know that your message will be returned as quickly as possible. We are working to ensure continuity of contracting efforts and timely payment of eligible reimbursement payments under contracts and encourage that contractors send electronic versions of documents to expedite processing.
Our agency also continues to ensure that critical water related information remains available (see https://dnr.nebraska.gov/). It is being updated continuously, including real-time streamgaging information.
Game and Parks http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
NEW In a proactive effort to prevent the potential for spread of the COVID-19, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission temporarily will close state park lodging in April.
Game and Parks will close park lodging facilities and cabin rentals April 1-30. A possible extension period may be implemented if conditions do not improve. Tent camping and RV camping are available and will be evaluated regularly, following state and federal directives, as well as local health department guidelines.
Public shower buildings are closed through April 30, but park bathrooms, which are sanitized regularly, remain open. The agency is taking proactive measures to protect its customers and employees, including using approved cleaning and disinfecting regiments per Centers for Disease Control recommendations.
Game and Parks will continue to look at other ways to self-limit occupancy and reduce congregations of people to prevent the spread of the virus. Nebraska state parks and recreation areas currently remain open for day use, hiking, camping, fishing, and recreation while maintaining social distancing.
Keep up to date on all cancellations, postponements and closures for Game and Parks at OutdoorNebraska.org/healthinfo. Guests impacted by the closure should contact Reservations at 402-471-1414, online at Nebraskastateparks.reserveamerica.com, or contact the parks directly for refund information.
Nebraska Attorney General’s Office COVID-19 Information
Nebraska Military Department
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
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.