LINCOLN – A Tuesday late afternoon press conference with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts followed another update from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Governor Ricketts was joined by Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt and Department of Labor Commissioner John Albin during the press conference from the Governor’s Hearing Room in State Capitol building.
Only one community spread case has been found in Douglas County and the CDC provided new guidance to reduce mass public gatherings to 10 people or less. This includes church services, funerals, weddings but not grocery stores as businesses can remain open.
Governor Ricketts declared an emergency last Friday and the state is continuing to take more steps. He added the food supply chain is very strong.
Governor Ricketts has also waved weight regulations on food trucks and hours of operations for those drivers.
“Our food supply chain is very strong here in our country and this state,” said Ricketts. “So, what we’re asking people to do is get those two weeks of groceries at home. So, if you have to stay home because of coronavirus that you’ve got that available. But then shop weekly; don’t over-buy.”
Both the public health lab in Nebraska and UNMC combined can do about 200 COVID-19 tests a day. People can contact their health provider as they’ll be put through a screener.
“So, they are going to ask you these types of questions of where have you been, who you’ve been exposed to,” Governor Ricketts added. “They will do tests for things like Influenza A, Influenzas B and respiratory viruses because those things are still way more common in our state than coronavirus.”
Based on a recommendation from the health care providers, then the test could take place but not everyone will be able to get the test.
Also, a lot of schools have already announced their own local closers. Along with the support of Governor Ricketts, Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt is recommending that schools be thinking about what their strategies are.
“I would recommend that by the end of the week that all schools across the state of Nebraska have ceased operation from a normal stand point,” Commissioner Blomstedt mentioned. “And create an operation that’s going to help them serve their students in their communities and their families most effectively.”
Decisions could be made ESU by ESU. Governor Ricketts and Commissioner Blomstedt will be reviewing the timeline on a two-week basis and communicate that with the schools.
If more community spread cases are found, schools would be closed for an additional 6-8 weeks from the point in time they’re found in the ESU’s.
Circumstances may change as things are changing rather rapidly.
Updated guidance on public events and gatherings can be read by clicking here.