Grant Program Updates Providing During Governor Press Briefing

LINCOLN – Following a weekend announcement to changes in the Directed Health Measures, Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts hosted another press briefing Monday morning.

From the Governor’s Hearing Room in the Nebraska State Capitol, Ricketts was joined by DHHS CEO Dannette R. Smith and DHHS Director of Behavioral Health Sheri Dawson

Last Friday, Ricketts launched a campaign to encourage Nebraskans to avoid the “Three C’s”. They include crowded places, close contacts and confined spaces.

Ricketts opened the press briefing by updating the hospitalization numbers.

“We’ve got 38% of our hospital beds available today, 37% of our ICU beds available and 78% of our ventilators available,” said Ricketts. “So, we want to continue to make sure that hospital capacity available for the people who need it when they need it.”

Over 330,000 Nebraskans have been tested through Test Nebraska with 1.2 million assessments complete. Since October 13, the turn around time is about 48 hours.

Monday’s press briefing also provided updates on the grant programs created by the State to help get Nebraska growing in the midst of the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Smith overviewed the status of the Community CARES grant program, which assists non-profits and licensed human services providers while Dawson emphasized the importance of Nebraskans taking action to prioritize their mental health as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The COVID Relief Fund Program will open the application period on Wednesday, October 21 at 10 a.m. before closing on Friday, November 13.

“The expenses have to be out the door by December 30,” Ricketts added. “That is a requirement from the federal government with regard to the CARES Act money. So, that’s what that is about; making sure we get those dollars out. To date (October 19), we have expended about $591 million of the 1.084 billion.”

Visit after 10 a.m. Wednesday to apply.

Governor Ricketts also signed a proclamation highlighted October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

Another press conference will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday as Governor Ricketts will celebrate the opening of the Spencer Bridge on Thursday at 1 p.m. This is the final bridge of the 27 Nebraska bridges that were taken out by the floods last year.