Gov. Ricketts: Nebraska One of Only a Handful States Providing Burden-Free Coronavirus Testing

News Release
For Immediate Release: 1/8/2021

Media Contact:  
Taylor Gage, (402) 471-1970
Justin Pinkerman, (402) 471-1967

Governor's Media Release:

LINCOLN – During a briefing at the State Capitol this morning, Governor Pete Ricketts delivered an update on the state's work to slow the spread of coronavirus and the state's Test Nebraska initiative.  The Governor was joined by Mark McCurdy, owner of Mark's Pharmacy in Cambridge to highlight the success of Test Nebraska's work across the state.

Gov. Ricketts: Test Nebraska is Burden Free

  • Our partnership with Nomi Health, CHI St. Elizabeth, and others has delivered over a half a million coronavirus test results.
  • Currently, Test Nebraska is operating 60 testing sites throughout Nebraska, with bays, or indoor drive-through testing, to accommodate for the winter months.
  • Through the Test Nebraska program, Nebraska is one of a small number of states providing free COVID-19 testing to anyone through a single, statewide system.
  • Nebraska is one of the few states (Iowa, Minn., S.D., Utah, and Wyo. are other examples) providing free COVID-19 testing without qualification and at no cost to the individual or his or her insurance provider.
  • Some other states provide free testing, but require additional steps, such as showing a doctor's note or insurance card.
  • In offering burden-free access to testing, Nebraska is one of the few states where testing is centralized, providing uniform access to testing and results statewide.

Gov. Ricketts: Test Nebraska's Statewide Reach

  • In addition to delivering over half a million tests, the State's approach of offering free testing, without qualification, has allowed for Test Nebraska to:
    • Provide additional access to testing at three homeless shelters, 10 correctional facilities, 15 colleges and universities, and hundreds of long-term care facilities
    • Complete more than 1.8 million online assessments to date
    • Average less than 24 hours in turning around test results in recent weeks, outperforming peer testing labs
  • A lot of our focus in these briefings over the past several months has been on Test Nebraska's work in Lincoln and Omaha.

Mark McCurdy: Test Nebraska's Statewide Reach

  • Nebraskans now know that this virus does not discriminate based on a city's population, with COVID-19 impacting communities of all sizes, urban and rural.
  • At the outset of this pandemic, our neighbors were traveling two to four hours for access to testing.
  • Thanks to the leadership of the State of Nebraska and Test Nebraska, more testing sites were able to come online, our focus changed to ensuring that residents and staff of long-term care facilities were provided tests.
  • Throughout this process, we have worked closely with Southwest Nebraska Health Department in McCook.  The partnership's focus has always been what we can do together to meet the health care needs of area residents.
  • We have been honored to answer the call where needed, offering testing in areas like Hayes Center and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.
  • Up until mid-November, our team had been testing once a week.  As the local health providers and health care systems saw vastly increased numbers of patients, we were asked to increase those testing opportunities.
  • We quickly were able to bolster our existing efforts, offering testing to our residents four days a week.
  • What we have been able to do in regard to testing could not have been possible without the support of Test Nebraska.
  • This has been a team effort.  Through our team, the local health officials, community volunteers and the infrastructure of Test Nebraska, we have been able to provide access to free, reliable testing.
  • Our pharmacy, like many across the state, will continue to play a role in providing vaccines during Phase 1 and 2.
  • We are honored to play a role in closing out this unprecedented chapter in history and help to end COVID-19.
  • Finally, providing this testing along with the information and support is an immense asset in meeting the needs of Nebraskans while helping decrease the overall demands on the health care system
  • It is important for Nebraskans to be aware of each one of Test Nebraska's testing sites throughout the state. These locations are serving populations in communities both urban and rural.

Video of the briefing can be found by clicking here.


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