Nebraska Coronavirus Cases
As of May 28, Nebraska reported 13,261 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of these, 164 have resulted in death. Douglas County has the majority of cases with 3,736 reported and then followed by Dakota County with 1,650.
Governor of Nebraska Closely Monitoring Rise of COVID-19 Cases in Largest Cities and Making Plans To Ease Restrictions
Pete Ricketts, Governor of Nebraska, said at his daily coronavirus briefing that he is closely monitoring the rise in the number of coronavirus patients that are being hospitalized in Omaha and Lincoln, while simultaneously making decisions as to how much virus-based restrictions across the state should be eased up.
"We are watching that," the governor said on Wednesday.
The governor gave a few hints, saying that it was possible that some restrictions might be eased in June and that an announcement on the decision might be made early next week so that Nebraskans can have enough time to plan.
Regarding the cases in the two largest cities in Nebraska, the governor said that Lincoln currently had 43 coronavirus patients hospitalized while Omaha had 121 patients. Although the two cities still appear to have sufficient hospital capacity, the continuous rise is slightly concerning.
Outside those two cities, however, the governor says hospitalization rates have decreased in Nebraska and continue to do so.
Currently, said Ricketts, hospitals in Nebraska are at 56% of bed capacity, 62% of intensive care unit beds capacity, and 22% ventilator capacity.
The governor promised to be as transparent and possible and to give "as much information all at once" when the decision on how the restriction easing will be done has been finalized. The current lockdown orders run out by May 31.
Under the current orders, groups of more than 10 individuals are not permitted to congregate and various businesses with in-person operations have also been asked to close.
"All of our public health experts said you cannot change the number of people getting infected, all you can do is flatten the curve, and spread it out. You can’t stop a virus from coming. But if you reduce the peak, you don’t overwhelm your health care system.
We have not come close to overwhelming our health care system,"
Nebraska State Gov. Pete Ricketts, on the decision to loosen coronavirus restrictions across the state.
Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic Fears, Nebraska Moves Forward With In-Person Primary
The state of Nebraska is set to hold, next week Tuesday, the first in-person primary in the nation since the highly-criticized election held in Wisconsin on April 7 amidst fears of the coronavirus.
While most of the states across the nation have rescheduled their elections or have transitioned to a mail voting system, Gov. Pete Ricketts and Bob Evnen - the Secretary of State - are both committed to holding an in-person primary in the state. Election officials within the state, however, have encouraged their voters to use mail-in ballots or to cast their votes ahead of time.
In a statement made this Monday, Gov. Ricketts disclosed that the state will be enlisting the Nebraska National Guard to assist with polling sites that may be short-staffed in counties like Omaha and Lincoln. According to the governor, the Guard members will not be wearing uniforms and will be blending in wearing civilian clothing.
"They'll be available to help out," he said.
According to a spokesman from the Guard, about 135 Guard members have undergone poll worker training, but are not to be dispatched without an official request. According to him, only Nebraska’s hardest-hit counties are likely to have members of the guard working at the polls, including Douglas Hall, Dawson, Dakota, Lincoln, Lancaster, Madison, and Scottsbluff.
Gov. Ricketts also said that the laws requiring poll workers to reside in the same county where they were serving had been repealed. This is due to the shortage of poll workers.
Rate of unemployment in Nebraska as of February 2020: 2.9%
Number of initial unemployment insurance claims made in Nebraska for the week ending April 4: 26,788+ Number of claims made the previous week - 24,725
Number of Nebraska counties with more than 20 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 residents as of April 12: 23