DHHS Friday COVID-19 Update

News Release
For Immediate Release: 10/9/2020

Leah Bucco-White, Communications, (402) 309-4157,

Khalilah LeGrand, Communications, (402) 853-1320,


LINCOLN – The DHHS COVID-19 Data Dashboard is currently experiencing technical difficulties due to numerous results flowing into the dashboard that is affecting the functionality of the system. It is always the aim of the Department to provide timely and accurate information. We are working to resolve the issue. 

Hospitalizations kept increasing this week, which underscores the continued need to take preventive actions to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. DHHS is working alongside the Governor's Office to maintain hospital capacity statewide and communicating with hospitals daily about bed and staff availability. The Department is continually monitoring hospital capacity and evaluating the measures in place.

Be sure you're taking preventive actions to limit spread

COVID-19 vaccine planning

Vaccine will play a critical role in protection against COVID-19 as well as slow the spread of the virus. DHHS, local health departments and other partners are planning for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccine in Nebraska, including efficient distribution as soon as the state's first doses are available. No arrival date has been set for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine supply will be limited early on and initial doses may be targeted toward certain priority groups including those critical to the COVID-19 response, providing direct care, as well as those at highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19 and essential workforce. As supply increases, more people will be able to receive vaccine. The CDC released a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook in mid-September to assist states with their planning.

Flu vaccine more important than ever this season

With COVID-19 continuing to spread in Nebraska, getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family's health this season. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends doing so before the end of October.

This season, flu vaccine is more important than ever. Getting a flu shot now helps protect against the flu and also preserves hospital capacity during the pandemic. Protect yourself and others by getting your flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older every year.

COVID-19 testing

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. 

Visit Testnebraska.com, or use TestNebraska/es for Spanish, to schedule an appointment at one of more than 60 Test Nebraska 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.

Kindness and support counters frustration and stress during the pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it's natural to feel frustration, stress and anxiety. Let's counter it with a remedy of positivity to one another. Nebraskans can get through this together with kindness and support.

“These times call for each of us to take a moment to ensure we communicate and treat each other with respect," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS. “One way that stress presents is through communication. When we are stressed, we may become easily frustrated or angry. Emotion then may impact your communication skills. A person in a heightened sense of stress can have trouble choosing their words carefully or expressing things in an appropriate way. Working to stay calm or taking a deep breath before you respond is important. When a person is feeling stressed, it's easy for them to misunderstand another person's intentions or what they are trying to communicate which can easily escalate. Checking for understanding on what a person said before reacting is the best approach."   

Find stress management tips and helpful resources that - http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Kindness-and-Support-to-Counter-Frustration-and-Stress-During-the-COVID-19-Pandemic.aspx

Halloween planning

This year, Nebraskans are encouraged to adapt celebrations such as trick-or-treating and fall activities in light of the ongoing pandemic.

The CDC offers recommendations that lower the potential for COVID-19 exposure during Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations. Ways to modify favorite traditions and celebrate safely this fall are available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.

Costume masks are not a substitute for a protective cloth face mask and should not be worn unless made of two or more layers of breathable fabric covering the mouth and nose and doesn't leave gaps around the face. All other costume masks should not be layered over cloth masks because it can make it hard to breathe.  

Anyone with COVID-19, or who may have been exposed to COVID-19, should avoid in-person celebrations.

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, http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.


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