34 Nebaska counties are now covered by Directed Health Measures, with stricter limits than the rest of the state. The latest, issued Tuesday, include 12 counties in the panhandle, and the four county area around Hastings.
“We are looking at restaurants closing the dine in areas, we are looking at bars being closed, but they can do packaged delivery or take-out, same for restaurants, and we have also prohibited selective surgeries,” Ricketts said.
The entire state is under an order to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people, with a social distance of at least 6 feet. The Governor said the virus continues to spread, “we have 172 positive tests, and 3,111 tests done totally,” he explained.
That puts Nebraska’s positive corona virus test rate to 5.3%. The Governor said the mayor of Washington DC told him their positive test rate is 12 percent. Ricketts said it’s important to keep fighting the spread of the virus.
“We need people who are experiencing symptoms of high fever, cough, and shortness of breath, to stay home immediately.”
Governor Relaxes Regulations on Nursing Home Workers
Governor Pete Ricketts also issued an executive order to ease the restrictions on nursing home workers to begin working.
“Most nursing homes have already limited their visitation and staff in the building, but that is part of our guidance, to limit those interactions,” Ricketts said.
“We are waiving some of the restrictions on critical access health facilities for their beds, certifications in regards to nurse aids, medication aids, and dining assistants, as long as they are confident to do their duties, to help with staffing”
The Governor is also prioritizing for nursing home workers to have access to surgical masks while working with patients.
Heath Bodie of the Nebraska Health Care Association gave a few points about nursing facilities as well. “The consequences from not following protocols in nursing homes are dire,” Bodie explained.
As of Monday, Bodie said 4 long term care facilities are battling COVID-19 in Nebraska, and that the Association’s priorities are on access to supplies, and having enough staff able to work.
The Governor also said that Nebraska will be continuing the social distancing guidelines through April, as the Federal Government has also said.
READ MORE: NE Delegation Writes Letter To Trump Backing Ricketts Request For COVID-19 Disaster Declaration