DHHS Friday COVID-19 Update

News Release
For Immediate Release: 8/14/2020

Leah Bucco-White, Communications, (402) 309-4157,
Khalilah LeGrand, Communications, (402) 853-1320,


New back to school videos for kids, Catch up on child immunizations

LINCOLN – The state case total, as of 5:45 p.m. CT today, is 29,988, an increase of 1,884 from last Friday. There were 16 new COVID-19-related deaths in the state, for a total of 361. A total of 22,004 Nebraskans diagnosed with COVID-19 have since recovered.

The daily average of positive cases is for Aug 8-14 to 269, compared to 270 and 291 in prior weeks, but remains above the daily average of 259 three weeks ago.  

Masks matter in controlling the virus. DHHS, Gov. Pete Ricketts, local health department leaders, and medical experts across the state continue to stress the importance of masks and ask Nebraskans to wear them along with taking the preventive actions listed below:

  1. Keep your distance - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html
  2. Wear a face covering - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance recommends avoiding masks with an exhalation valve or vent, which allow respiratory droplets to be expelled - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html   
  3. Wash your hands - https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
  4. Know your risk - https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/7-steps-to-identify-risky-covid-19-situations?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MIM07012020.
  5. Stay home - if you're sick or if you've been exposed to COVID-19 - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html
  6. Get tested - if you've been exposed or have symptoms via TestNebraska.com or TestNebraska.com/es for Spanish, or another testing site in your community

Back to school

The CDC offers planning checklists to help prepare for in-person, virtual or at-home learning -  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/parent-checklist.html

Additionally, new videos featuring Nebraska students highlight the importance of hand-washing, social distancing and wearing masks. The partnership known as Bring Up Nebraska collaborated with Rabble Mill/The Bay to produce videos with input from students, for students, on how they can stay healthy and help keep their families and communities healthy during the pandemic.

The 45-second videos are available at:

Regardless of whether children attend school in-person for the coming year, parents are encouraged to schedule well-child visits and ensure children and youth are up-to-date on immunizations. During the pandemic, the CDC recommends maintaining immunization schedules for infants, children and adolescents through age 18, and pregnant women.

In addition, all Nebraskans are encouraged to get flu vaccine this year to help limit the spread of respiratory illnesses, lower the need for medical visits and hospitalizations, and reduce strain on the health care system in the midst of the pandemic.

TestNebraska update

TestNebraska continues to expand its lab capacity from 3,600 to 7,000 with more appointments being added as capacity increases. More testing is intended to help long-term care facilities, schools and communities identify COVID-19 cases and respond to slow virus spread.

Those participating in any group activity where masks were not worn and social distancing did not occur are encouraged to get a COVID-19 test.

To reserve a test, complete an online assessment at TestNebraska.com, or TestNebraska/es for Spanish, and schedule a visit at one of the 34 TestNebraska sites. Dates and times for each location are listed, including 3 sites in Omaha, and 2 sites in Lincoln, Columbus and Norfolk.

The CDC suggests three key steps to take while waiting for COVID-19 test results - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/php/318271-A_FS_KeyStepsWhenWaitingForCOVID-19Results_3.pdf?deliveryName=USCDC_964-DM35163

DHM restrictions continue

Phase 3 Directed Health Measure (DHM) restrictions continue through Aug. 31 for 66 counties, with 27 counties in Phase 4.

Regardless of their county of residence, recommendations remain for all Nebraskans to continue social distancing, as well as using face coverings, hand washing, and staying home when sick to help limit virus transmission. Anyone with close contact to someone testing positive for COVID-19 is encouraged to isolate and get tested.

A summary of DHM phases is available online at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Documents/COVID-19-Outline-of-Changes-to-DHMs-ALL-Phases.pdf.

Governor and state health leaders meet with Federal Coronavirus Response Coordinator

Governor Pete Ricketts hosted Dr. Deborah L. Birx for a meeting at the State Capitol on Friday.  Dr. Birx is the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, and she also serves in the Office of the Vice President as the government's Coronavirus Response Coordinator.

During the meeting, Gov. Ricketts overviewed Nebraska's ongoing work to slow the spread of the virus and to support the state's hospital capacity. The Governor was joined by the State's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Anthone, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) CEO Dannette R. Smith, Deputy Director of the DHHS Division of Public Health Felicia Quintana-Zinn, and DHHS Chief Data Strategist Ashley Newmyer.

In addition to State health leaders, local public health officials took part in the meeting, along with representatives of hospital networks in Nebraska - https://governor.nebraska.gov/press/gov-ricketts-state-health-leaders-meet-federal-coronavirus-response-coordinator-dr-deborah.

Nebraskans seeking information or help with general questions can call the DHHS COVID-19 information hotline at (402) 552-6645, or toll-free (833) 998-2275. The COVID-19 hotline is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CT, 7 days a week. DHHS will continue to share new information via the DHHS website, as well as Facebook and Twitter.


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