DHHS Friday COVID-19 Update

News Release
For Immediate Release: 9/4/2020

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


Contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19. Answer the call.


LINCOLN – The state case total, as of 5:45 p.m. CT today, is 35,661 an increase of 2,315 from last Friday. There were 12 new COVID-19-related deaths in the state, for a total of 404. A total of 26,973 Nebraskans diagnosed with COVID-19 have since recovered.

The daily average of positive cases for Aug. 29-Sept. 4 is 318, up from a daily average of 259 last week, and 234 and 269 in recent weeks.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (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. Wear a mask – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers tips on how to select, wear and clean a reusable mask - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html
    • Choose masks that              
      • have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
      • completely cover your nose and mouth
      • fit snugly against the side of your face and don't have gaps
    • Avoid masks that
      • are made of fabric that make it hard to breathe, such as vinyl
      • have exhalation valves or vents, which allow virus particles to escape
      • are intended for healthcare workers, including N95 respirators or surgical masks
  2. Keep your distance - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.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

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and helps protect you, your family and your community. Those testing positive for COVID-19 can expect to receive a call from a health department contact tracer who will ask about symptoms and general health, discuss anyone you may have had extended contact with, and where you spent time while capable of spreading the virus. It's important to answer the phone.

Someone from a local health department may also call you if you've been around someone testing positive for COVID-19.

All discussions are confidential. Your name will not be shared with anyone you had extended contact with. Anyone concerned about the legitimacy of a call from a contact tracer can verify by calling the local health department or DHHS at (402) 471-6450.

More information on contact tracing is now available on the DHHS website at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Contact-Tracing.aspx.

Test Nebraska Update – Second Free COVID-19 Testing Event in North Omaha

The New Era Baptist State Convention of Nebraska, Inc. and the Omaha Housing Authority and Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. have partnered with DHHS to provide free COVID-19 testing through Test Nebraska in North Omaha. Testing took place today and is also available Saturday, September 5 from 10 AM-2PM at the Eagles Nest/Victory Church Rear Parking Lot – 5775 Sorensen Pkwy, Omaha, NE 68152.

Registration through Test Nebraska takes less than 10 minutes. Visit Testnebraska.com or TestNebraska/es for Spanish.  Pre-registration is not required as on-site registration is available. Participants should be advised that while average turnaround time for Test Nebraska is less than 72 hours, results may be delayed due to the Labor Day holiday.

According to State data available on the DHHS data dashboard, minorities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  Widespread testing is a proven way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Testing also provides important data to track the spread of the virus, find a cure and save lives.

Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms, can receive a free test through Test Nebraska. Symptoms can include a fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, tiredness, muscle aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. 

To reserve a test, complete an online assessment at TestNebraska.com, or using TestNebraska/es for Spanish, and schedule a visit at one of more than 60 locations across the state. Nebraskans with general questions about testing or who need help completing the online assessment can call the Test Nebraska hotline at (402) 207-9377.

DHM Update

Panhandle Public Health District will be the fourth local health department jurisdiction to move to Phase 4 of the Directed Health Measures (DHMs). The health department covers 12 counties: Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Grant, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, and Sioux. The new DHM will start on Sept. 11, 2020.

More information on Phase 4 measures is available online at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Directed-Health-Measures.aspx. Guidance associated with these next steps is posted at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Nebraska-Guidance-Documents.aspx.

Currently, 27 counties are in Phase 4 through Sept. 30 and 54 counties will remain in Phase 3 through Sept. 13. 

Regardless of the county of residence, it's recommended all Nebraskans continue social distancing, as well as wear face coverings, wash hands frequently, and stay home when sick to help limit COVID-19 transmission. Anyone with extended close contact to someone testing positive for COVID-19 is encouraged to quarantine and get tested.

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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