The latest COVID-19 updates from Governor Pete Ricketts
May 1, 2020
Revised Directed Health Measures for three additional Local Health Departments will go into effect on May 11, loosening regulations on how many children may be served by child care programs in selected regions of the state. TheLincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, West Central District Health Department and Three Rivers PublicHeatlh Department will join 10 other public health departments whose revised DHMs go into effect on May 4.
April 21, 2020
- Governor Pete Ricketts today launched “Crush the Curve,” an initiative to test up to 3,000 Nebraskans a day for coronavirus. The State of Nebraska has partnered with four companies to set up testing tents across the state to start testing those deemed most susceptile, such as front-line workers and caregivers. In the future, the state hopes to test those with mild or no symptoms, Ricketts said. More widespread testing is the only way to relieve the state-wide quarantine by identifying those who have COVID-19 and tracking down those they were in contact with, Ricketts urged. The first step is for all Nebraskans to visit TestNebraska.com and take the assessment.
- On the DHHS website, there is a new data dashboard tracking the number of coronavirus cases by county, as well as testing and hospitalization rates.
April 8, 2020
- Governor Pete Ricketts said today a potential secondary effect of social distancing is an uptick in child abuse, and it's more concerning while schools are closed because 30% of suspected abuse and neglect calls come educators. Governor Ricketts signed a proclamation designating April as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month and Stephanie Beasley, Director of the Division of Children and Family Services, asked Nebraskans to check on their friends and families to offer support.
- Director Beasley and Governor Ricketts also discussed changes to the SNAP program to address the COVID-19 crisis. Those changes include:
- Extending SNAP recertification periods by six months during April and May
- Providing emergency allotments to SNAP recipients to maximum allotment during April and May
- Permitting able-bodied adults with dependents who are subject to work requirements, but are unable to meet them to receive more than three months of SNAP benefits within a 36-month period
- Waiving the interview requirement for every case prior to eligibility determination for SNAP
- Extending eligibility periods for other financial assistance programs with SNAP extension
April 6, 2020
- All 93 Nebraska counties are now under Directed Health Measures (DHMs).
- On Thursday, April 9 at 8:30 p.m. CT, Governor Ricketts will host a town hall with Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at UNMC and Nebraska Director of Economic Development, Tony Goins. Watch the livestream on NET Nebraska.
April 2, 2020
- During his press conference this afternoon, Governor Ricketts reiterated the state's policy of issuing Directed Health Measures (DHMs) on a regional, as-needed basis through local health departments. At present, the Governor said there are no plans to issue a sweeping mandate to close businesses entirely as it is believed this will do little to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Because none of the DHMs currently in place throughout the state contain directives to close child care programs, this does little to resolve the uncertainty the state's child care professionals continue to face as they balance between financial viability and responsibility for the health and well being of the children and families they serve.
- Nebraska First Lady Suzanne Shore announced the Nebraska Impact COVID-19 Relief Fund, which will be directed through community collaboratives throughout the state through the Bring Up Nebraska initiative administered by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. The funds will be used to assist community residents with expenses related to rent, mortgage and utility payments, food patries and educational supports for school children studying at home. The community collaboraties include business owners, service providers, law enforcement, governtment officials and others, working in partnership with DHHS and Nebraska Children and Families. We'll continue to report on the rollout of this program in the weeks ahead.
- NET TV will televise the Governor's Thursday night town hall this evening, April 2, at 8:30 p.m. The Governor will field questions in collaboration with Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the College of Public Health at UNMC, and John Albin, commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Labor. The town hall will also be streamed live on NET's website.
March 30, 2020
- Department of Labor Commissioner John Albin spoke today at the Governor's press conference about the confusion surrounding the application process for unemployment insurance benefits. Albin stressed the message that applicants for unemployment benefits should not become discouraged if they receive an initial rejection, as they may still be eligible for new unemployment supports implemented by newly available economic relief efforts. Albin's message was “just apply” so requests for unemployment assistance could get entered into the system and reviewed for different types of benefits.
- Governor Ricketts will host another televised town hall meeting on Thursday, April 2 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. In addition to the broadcast, the town hall will stream live on NET TV's website.
- During today's news conference, the Governor also categorically denied rumors that school students would be required to repeat their current grade due to the public health emergency.
March 26, 2020
- During his daily press conference, Governor Ricketts announced he will be approving an Executive Order to allow non-profits, churches and hospitals to set up temporary child care. These services are intended to prioritize care for essential workers in health care, emergency services and other areas. The Governor’s comments suggest that background checks will still be required for adults caring for children in these temporary care settings. We will make the full text of the Executive Order available when it’s released.
- Nebraska residents will have the opportunity to ask Governor Ricketts questions about the state’s COVID-19 response at a special town hall, hosted tonight by NET TV beginning at 7:00 p.m. CST. Attendees will have the opportunity to call in during the event or submit their questions ahead of time. Go to NET Nebraska for details.