DHHS Works With Three Rivers Public Health Department and Carter House to Move Residents for COVID-19 Mitigation

News Release
For Immediate Release: 3/29/2020


Leah Bucco-White, Communications, 402-309-4157 leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

Khalilah LeGrand, Ed.D. Communications, 402-853-1320 khalilah.legrand@nebraska.gov

Terra Uhing, MS, Executive Director, (402) 317-8841 terra@3rphd.org

Additional Case Identified

LINCOLN – Three Rivers Public Health Department (3RHD) has identified an additional case of COVID-19.  The Washington County resident is a female in her 90s and is self-isolating at home. This case is related to the Carter House outbreak and has been identified through a contact investigation according to 3RHD. Carter House is an assisted living facility in Blair, NE. All residents and staff were tested today and results are expected in 48 hours. This is the 9th case in Washington County. 

As part of the investigation it was found that several health care workers and patients tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility. On Wednesday, a press release from Three Rivers Health Department indicated that the facility was aggressively managing the cases and is working with local and state health officials to ensure the safety and care of all residents - https://threeriverspublichealth.org/CoronavirusUpdates.aspx. As part of those efforts, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Three Rivers and Carter House staff determined that the best course of action in light of recent developments was to move residents out of the facility temporarily. Residents who have tested positive will be in self-isolation at other healthcare facilities and residents who are considered to have been exposed but remain asymptomatic will also self-quarantine at another healthcare facility. Staff who tested positive for COVID-19 are self-isolating. A number of neighboring health care facilities and hospitals are assisting with this coordinated effort. While the Carter House is empty, a complete deep cleaning to disinfect the facility will occur.

Contact investigations are underway to identify people who came into close contact to help prevent further spread. All identified close contacts will self-quarantine and be actively monitored twice daily by public health officials for fever and respiratory symptoms. The Three Rivers Public Health Department will continue to update its community as new information becomes available. 

The state total as of today is 120. As Nebraska remains vigilant in its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Nebraska, state and local health departments are testing and publicly reporting their cases. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched a new data dashboard that provides daily updates to the state's COVID-19 case totals. You can find it at http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus.

People who are concerned they may have COVID-19 should self-isolate and call ahead to their primary care provider to be screened over the phone.

Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, according to the CDC.

People in these higher-risk groups should: 

  • Stock up on supplies, including extra necessary medications.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Recent data shows that the virus is also affecting younger people. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said 20% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 in the U.S. were 20-44 years old.

Everyone can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by: 

  • Avoiding close contact with sick people and stay home if you are sick.
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Here's where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC's website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19

DHHS opened a statewide coronavirus (COVID-19) information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is (402) 552-6645; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CST, 7 days a week.

DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC's website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.



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