WATCH LIVE: Gov. Ricketts gives COVID-19 update, aid package in the works

Local News

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., Monday, March 23, 2020, where he provided updates on Nebraska’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) – Governor Pete Ricketts will be holding a press conference to update Nebraskans on steps taken by the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Tuesday.

The conference is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Watch for a livestream below, on our website or on KCAU 9’s Facebook page.

Ricketts announced Tuesday morning he is working with the Nebraska Legislature on an emergency package that would provide $83 Million in funding for Nebraska to fight COVID-19.

An overview of the emergency package as provided by the Governor’s Office is below.

  •  Assistance for Nebraska Communities:  The largest portion will go towards purchasing much-need personal protective equipment (PPE) to help our communities respond.  It will also help Local Public Health Departments (LHD) to ramp up staffing and call center operations, and to make essential IT expenditures—like laptops and servers.
  • State Public Health Division:  From epidemiologists who advise LHDs to robust public information campaigns, our Public Health team has been overseeing the statewide response.  These resources will help expand staffing to augment their team to give them the resources they need during this pandemic for missions like testing.
  • State Agency Overtime:  This part of the package will help cover costs for overtime and additional staff to maintain healthcare coverage needs at veterans’ homes and state care facilities.  These funds are calculated to cover a 50% spike in staffing needs to prepare for the possibility that some teammates may be temporarily unable to provide care due to quarantine requirements.
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: Additional funding for the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) would pay for equipment and systems at UNMC.  Some of the funds would go toward the cost of the reagents, lab personnel, and equipment needed to expand COVID-19 testing. 
  • Additional Flexibility:  The Legislature is also considering an additional $25 million in flexibility for the Governor’s Emergency Fund to ensure the State has the resources it needs as the scope of the pandemic unfolds.

The CDC said that most COVID-19 illnesses are mild, but about 16% of cases are serious. Older people or those with underlying health conditions are most at risk of developing a serious illness.

Symptoms for the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. They occur 2-14 days after exposure. Anyone that develops the symptoms and has been in contact with some who has the virus or has recently traveled from where the virus is widespread is asked to see a doctor.

To help prevent the spread, people are asked to do the following:

  • Wash their hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Below are various health organizations with information on COVID-19.

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