LINCOLN – The latest statewide case total is 65,376, as of Oct. 27. There were 55 new COVID-19-related deaths in the state over the last seven days, for a total of 620. A total of 42,633 Nebraskans diagnosed with COVID-19 have since recovered.
The daily average of positive cases for the last seven days is 852, compared to a daily average of 838 last week, and 684 and 530 cases in prior weeks.
Daily hospitalizations increased by 37 over the last seven days for a total of 436 and 91 of Nebraska’s 93 counties have had one or more positive COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days.
DHHS urges all Nebraskans to avoid the Three Cs to slow the spread of the virus:
- Crowded places – avoid group gatherings if you can’t maintain 6-feet of distance from others.
- Close contact – wear a mask or maintain 6-feet of distance from people not in your household.
- Confined spaces – avoid enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
Door to door trick-or-treating, truck-or-treat events and community celebrations come with a higher risk for infection. Nebraskans are encouraged to adapt these and other fall activities to help limit the potential for COVID-19 exposure.
Anyone dressing up is encouraged to make a cloth face mask part of their costume, as layering a costume mask over a cloth mask can make it hard to breathe.
Nebraskans are reminded to wear a mask, keep at least six feet of distance, wash hands and use hand sanitizer anytime you’re with people from outside your household, and avoid crowded places, close contact and confined spaces. Anyone with COVID-19, or who may have been exposed to COVID-19, should avoid in-person celebrations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tips to help adjust plans for Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving and other celebrations at https://www.cdc.gov/
Tips for voters on Election Day
If you plan to vote in person, the CDC offers basic precautions to help limit time spent at polling places and reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19.
- Wear a mask
- Bring your own supplies – including hand sanitizer, a black pen, and any materials such as voter registration card or sample ballot.
- If using public or private transportation to get to your polling place, open a window and avoid touching things if possible.
- While in line, keep your distance from others – even if everyone is wearing masks.
More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/
COVID-19 vaccine update
Gov. Pete Ricketts and state leaders announced this week that Nebraska will use an existing vaccine provider network to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one receives federal approval and supplies are made available to the state.
Doses are expected to be limited early on and will go to health care personnel and at-risk groups. Nebraska’s existing Vaccines for Children network will distribute doses via health care providers, local health departments, federally qualified health centers, community-based clinics, tribal health care centers, and hospitals across the state.
A second phase of vaccine distribution for the wider population will begin when large numbers of vaccine doses are available. The CDC has not yet announced an arrival date for a vaccine. Nebraska’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is available at http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/
COVID-19 testing update
New testing pod deployed in Omaha
The state is launching the first of several testing pods designed to help expand rapid mobile COVID-19 testing during winter. Five drive-through and five walk-up models will be deployed to support testing as needed across the state.
The drive-through model have a heated, enclosed center unit for healthcare workers to administer tests to drivers and passengers who can remain in their vehicle. The freestanding walk-up model allows medical personnel to collect data while minimizing the contact with patients.
The first drive-through pod will be in use this weekend at the Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha campus. Appointments can be scheduled starting Thursday, Oct. 29. Go to Testnebraska.com or use TestNebraska/es for Spanish.
Last testing date for Test Nebraska Crossroads location is today
Due to upcoming construction at the Crossroads site in Omaha, the last testing date for that Test Nebraska location is today.
COVID-19 testing through Test Nebraska
Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms can receive a free test through Test Nebraska. Symptoms can include a fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, tiredness, muscle aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
Visit Testnebraska.com, or use TestNebraska/es for Spanish, to schedule an appointment at one of more than 60 Test Nebraska locations across the state. Nebraskans with general questions about testing or who need help completing the online assessment can call the Test Nebraska hotline at (402) 207-9377.
Community resilience through Community CARES grants
The state of Nebraska and the DHHS are pleased to announce Round 2 of Community CARES grants. Grants will help organizations and communities mitigate the impacts of Covid-19. Grants in Round 2 will be available to eligible organizations that did not receive funding in Round 1.
Charities, providers and centers of worship may apply by visiting the Coronavirus Relief Fund at https://coronavirus.nebraska.
Nebraskans seeking information or help with general questions can call the DHHS COVID-19 information hotline at (402) 552-6645, or toll-free (833) 998-2275. The COVID-19 hotline is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CT, 7 days a week. DHHS will continue to share new information via the DHHS website, http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/