Nebraska Joint Information Center Update
RELEASE DATE: Mar 27, 2020
Gov. Pete Ricketts’ Office https://governor.nebraska.gov/
NEW Gov. Ricketts issued an executive order today to waive some licensing restrictions on health care professionals. This will waive some licensing restrictions for health care workers, waive licensing fees for renewals and new practices, reduce some supervision requirements and waive FBI background checks. Gov. Ricketts said he want to make sure Nebraska is prepared if additional health care workers are needed quickly.
NEW Gov. Ricketts issued an executive order on Thursday, March 26 to allow restaurants and bars to provide mixed drinks sealed with a lid for takeout.
“Our restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest hit businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Ricketts. “I've signed an executive order to help them by allowing takeout for pre-made cocktails and other alcoholic beverages as long as they are sealed with a lid.”
NEW Gov. Ricketts reported during his daily news conference today that Nebraska now has the capacity to do up to 1,000 COVID-19 tests each day.
NEW Douglas County Health Department reported Nebraska’s first death today due to COVID-19.
Gov. Ricketts addressed the death in his news conference today. "Condolences go out to family who experienced loss of a loved one. We know we will be impacted like other states—some people will die—our effort is to limit that so we can accommodate those who need to go the hospital. No reason to believe we’ll be immune to what’s happening in other parts of the country," he said.
NEW Department of Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt joined Gov. Ricketts at his news conference and reported that schools will continue delivering learning sessions under alternative learning environments without students in schools. Blomstedt said the Department of Education will continue to work with local public health officials. Blomstedt said districts are working with high school seniors to make sure they graduate on time.
The state of Nebraska received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for 2019-2020 assessments, accountability, school identification and reporting requirements as originally planned, due to extensive school closures. https://www.education.ne.gov/publichealth/resources/
NEW Nebraska case information is updated as new numbers are available on the DHHS website.
Current case numbers are: 85 positives; 1,761 negative tests as of March 27 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.
DHHS now provide daily updates to the state’s COVID-19 case totals vis its new Data Dashboard at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.
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)
National Weather Service and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
NEW The risk of severe thunderstorms typically increases across the state of Nebraska during the spring and that includes the risk for tornadoes. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, people who rely on public sheltering from tornadoes could be faced with the difficult choice of sheltering from the tornado in a community shelter or refraining from going to the shelter in order to limit potential exposure to COVID-19.
NEMA is recommending that your first priority should be to protect yourself from a potential tornado. However, the decision to open a community shelter will ultimately be at the discretion of local or county officials. Before you make the decision to go to a community shelter, you should first check with local officials to ensure they will be open. This should be done ahead of any thunderstorm, well before any warnings are issued. If you rely on community shelters, now is a good time to explore other options that might keep you safe from a tornado while also limiting your potential exposure to COVID-19.
Attorney General’s Office
Many Nebraskans will be looking for ways to generously help communities in response to COVID-19. The Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to educating and providing Nebraskans with best practices for donating. We also have a Mediation Center that takes complaints from those who believe they have been scammed by someone or some organization. Visit ProtectTheGoodLife.Nebraska.Gov where a checklist as well as Wise Giving Tips are included to support Nebraskans in donating with care.
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
NEW A new consumer alert on COVID-19—What Every Medicare Recipient Should Know is now available on the Department of Insurance website.
Department of Labor NEworks.nebraska.gov and dol.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.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
NEW The NDVA State Service Office, located at 40th and Old Cheney in Lincoln, is closed for in-person visits and cannot take walk-ins for the time being. However, state service officers are still available to help veterans and their family members file claims. Call 402-420-4021 and we will work with you to gather documentation, submit claims, answer questions, and help however we can.
Game and Parks http://outdoornebraska.gov/healthinfo/
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 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