LINCOLN – Nebraska’s State of Emergency for Coronavirus will officially end at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30 following a recent news conference.
From the Governor’s Hearing Room in the Nebraska State Capitol, Pete Ricketts hosted a Monday morning news conference as Ricketts first issued the state of emergency declaration on March 13, 2020.
Current hospitalizations were at 27 as of Monday morning with that category being below 100 since May 15 and below 40 since June 16. This is also well below 1% of hospital beds in the state that are being used by coronavirus patients.
The last day specimens will be collected through Test Nebraska sites on July 18 as Ricketts added the Test Nebraska contract will be ending on July 31.
“As again we return to normalcy and we see hospitalizations dropping we’re going to be ending Test Nebraska,” Ricketts added. “There’s still lots of other testing out there available in the community. We’ve tested 772,000 Nebraskans through the program. At one point, Test Nebraska made up more than half of all the tests that was going on here in the state.”
Additionally, the Governor stated his expectation that all schools in Nebraska will return to in-person instruction in the fall, will not require anyone (even if unvaccinated) to wear masks, and will not mandate the vaccine at all.
Governor Ricketts praised educators as Nebraska ranked as the sixth-best state for kids in classrooms. Nebraska also ranked as the third-best state through the Kaiser Family Foundation by keeping the fatalities down with the state’s overall fatalities rate being inside the top 10 across the United States. Nebraska also averaged the lowest unemployment rate throughout 2020.
Governor Ricketts mentioned the Coronavirus will always be in the community and you can’t stop it.
“In fact, that’s one of the things that the folks at UNMC told us early on is this is a virus you cannot stop it,” Ricketts mentioned. “You can only slow it down enough to preserve your hospital capacity and that’s what we did here in Nebraska. So, I think it’s important for everybody to know that the coronavirus will still be out there”
With a few exceptions, the coronavirus executive orders will expire on July 30, 2021, which is thirty days after the state of emergency ends (June 30). Full text of EO 21-09 is available by clicking here.
Governor Ricketts said it is important to note that the federal government has their rules.
“So, we still have to follow those rules,” said Ricketts. “That means if you go to the airport, TSA is still requiring people to wear masks in the airport and on flights. For our skilled nursing facilities, those are regulated by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).”
Department of Health and Human Services officials will also end their coronavirus dashboard on June 30. Any needed future updates regarding coronavirus will be provided in news releases and through other means.
Governor Ricketts is next scheduled to host Town Hall events in Grand Island and Nebraska City on Thursday, July 1.