Taylor Gage, Governor Pete Ricketts' Office (402) 471-1970 firstname.lastname@example.org
Khalilah LeGrand, DHHS Office of Communications (402) 853-1320 email@example.com
Leah Bucco-White, DHHS Office of Communications (402) 309-4157 firstname.lastname@example.org
LINCOLN, Neb. – Today, Test Nebraska, which is currently the number one source of testing in the state of Nebraska, reached a milestone having tested more than 100,000 Nebraska residents since the program launched in April.
“The importance of being tested cannot be overstated," said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary J. Anthone. “We are seeing an increase in the number of cases in our state, and if we're going to keep the spread of the virus under control, and open schools within the next month, it is vitally important that residents wear a mask when you go to the store, use social distancing and get tested if they believe they may have been exposed or are showing symptoms.
Through Test Nebraska, the state has the capacity to test 3,000 residents a day across 30 Test Nebraska drive-up and clinic sites statewide. According to a state-by-state comparison by the New York Times - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-testing.html, Nebraska is testing an average of 176 people per 100,000 residents in the state. Six percent of residents who have tested returned positive test results; 5 residents per 100,000 have been hospitalized.
"As Test Nebraska completes its 100,000th test, the entire country should be looking at this state's testing program as a model for how to efficiently and effectively test for COVID-19," said Nomi Health CEO Mark Newman. "In the last two weeks alone, Test Nebraska has accounted for over 70 percent of the State's tests while keeping the average test result turnaround time to under 43 hours. Governor Ricketts deserves great credit for his swift, innovative approach to stop the spread of the virus by bringing the best technology and clinical lab experience together in one seamless operation. We are grateful to the Governor and our local lab partners for their relentless work and support to get Nebraskans back to work under these unprecedented circumstances."
Approximately 30% of all COVID-19 tests in Nebraska have been conducted through Test Nebraska. The program is open to every Nebraskan who wants to be tested. A summary of testing data as of July 24 at 3:30 p.m. follows:
As part of the effort to prevent virus spread, the Test Nebraska program includes additional follow-up with residents who have already tested negative as well as those who have completed an assessment, but opted not to be tested to encourage those residents to continue monitoring their health.
“I do want to emphasize that just because a person receives a negative test result does not mean that they are not at risk for contracting the virus at a later time," Anthone said. “It may mean the person was not infected at the time the test was performed or that the person was very early in the stages of infection at the time of the test. A negative test result does not rule out the possibility that a person could get sick later. Therefore, people have to remain vigilant and continue taking precautions—wearing masks and practicing social distancing consistently."
About Test Nebraska Test Nebraska is a statewide effort and collaboration between the Nebraska Department of Public Health, Nebraska National Guard, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Nebraska Public Health Lab and local public health officials, emergency managers and health care providers across the state.
Continued testing encouraged, especially for students and staff set to return to school
Nebraskans can complete an assessment at TestNebraska.com or TestNebraska/es for Spanish. Once the assessment is completed, applicants will receive an email from Test Nebraska informing them of eligibility. For those who are eligible, the email will direct them to select the location, date and time that is convenient for them. A confirmation email will include a bar code, which residents need to print off and bring with them to the testing site. The assessment can be completed via computer or by phone. If an individual does not have Internet access, a relative or friend can help them complete the assessment.
Residents who have general questions about testing or need help completing the online assessment can call the Test Nebraska hotline at (402) 207-9377.
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.
DHHS opened a statewide 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 or toll-free at (833) 998-2275; hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT, 7 days a week.
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 .