LINCOLN – An early week news conference was held Monday morning providing an update on the state’s Coronavirus response along with an update from the Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner.
From the Governor’s Hearting Room, Pete Ricketts was also joined by representatives from the DHHS and physician assistants.
Even with the increasing number of coronavirus hospitalizations there are 34% hospital beds available, 35% of ICU beds and 75% of ventilators are available as of Monday morning.
The federal government asked states to submit their vaccination plan earlier this month and Nebraska’s plan can be found on the DHHS website.
Information was then brought forward about Governor’s Education Emergency Relief (GEER) funds. As schools entered the spring of 2020, a need in devices across all the education providers was found.
Commissioner of Education, Matthew Blomstedt said there were 29,524 devices that were needed during a Needs Assessment across the state.
“And we actually have orders out there for many of the entities that we talked about, non-public and public schools alike to make sure that that can be done,” said Blomstedt. “We’ve been partnering with the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Counsel to make sure we can get those orders done and put those in place.”
With it being tough to order devices, the department addressed the $12.5 million that’s available for those devices. Depending on the type of device and availability they’re coming very soon within the next one to three months with certain devices having much more of a backorder.
As the winter months approach Commissioner Blomstedt added concerns arise with where education may be.
“We’re hoping to keep students in person as much as possible,” Blomstedt mentioned. “But we actually do believe that these additional devices are going to be quite helpful for our schools to both keep them open and keep them moving.”
October is Physician Assistant Month as Governor Ricketts signed a proclamation Monday morning. Ricketts stated he enjoys working with physician assistants.
“Certainly, during this pandemic, they have been on the frontlines and helping to keep people healthy during this pandemic,” Ricketts started. “There’s been new safety protocols. Everybody has had to get use to those and adjust. So, Physician Assistants have been really key in being able to make all that happen.”
Governor Ricketts will be visiting David City Public Schools to award the Blue Ribbon Designation to their elementary school on Thursday, October 29 at 1:30 p.m. from the David City football field. Six Nebraska schools were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020.