DHHS Wednesday COVID-19 Update

News Release
For Immediate Release: 11/4/2020

Leah Bucco-White, Communications, (402) 471-9356,
Khalilah LeGrand, Communications, (402) 471-9313,


 Personal behavior affects spread of COVID-19.

Avoid 3Cs now to stop cases from climbing, reduce record hospitalizations.

LINCOLN – The latest statewide case total is 74,060, as of Nov. 3. There were 40 new COVID-19-related deaths in the state over the last seven days, for a total of 660. A total of 45,522 Nebraskans diagnosed with COVID-19 have since recovered.

The daily average of positive cases for the last seven days is 1,240 compared to a daily average of 852 last week, and 838 and 684 cases in prior weeks. Daily hospitalizations over the last seven days increased by 237, for a total of 673.

“Our behaviors are affecting the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and the actions we take now will be reflected in the history of the pandemic in our state. As Nebraskans, we need to band together to stop cases from climbing and reduce the record number of hospitalizations," said Dr. Gary Anthone, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. “Every one of us should avoid the three Cs – crowded places, close contact and confined spaces and continue to wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands."

Risk factors – smoking and obesity

The CDC recently updated guidelines to reflect that overweight or obese adults, as well as current smokers and those with a history of smoking are at increased risk of severe lung illness if they contract COVID-19.

Removing a mask to smoke or vape undermines the heath benefit of the covering and increases the risk of transmitting or inhaling COVID-19 via infectious respiratory droplets, uncovered coughs and increased touching of faces. Since COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system, it is more important than ever to prevent exposure to anything that could weaken the lungs, including cigarette smoke and aerosol from e-cigarettes.

Free resources are available for Nebraskans who would like help quitting any form of tobacco or nicotine. Resources include:

  • Talking to your healthcare provider about your desire to quit.
  • Calling the Nebraska Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) for Spanish Services. Web services are also available through QuitNow.ne.gov. The Quitline's evidence-based combination of free and confidential coaching and a free two-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy helps set tobacco-users up to quit.
  • Checking your insurance benefits to see what treatment plans are covered and what additional benefits you qualify for.

You can find the lists of medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and what precautions to take at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html.

Long-term care facility assistance

DHHS joined Governor Pete Ricketts in announcing additional financial assistance for long-term care (LTC) facilities as they serve Nebraskans during the coronavirus pandemic. The State of Nebraska is allocating another $15 million to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities cover additional costs they've incurred during the pandemic. The State is applying to the federal government to match these funds with $25 million, to provide a total of $40 million of new financial assistance for LTC facilities in Nebraska. 

COVID-19 testing through Test Nebraska

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.

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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