Governor And State’s Chief Doctor Encourage Vaccination, Tout New Covid Drugs

LINCOLN, NE (December 20, 2021)  – Governor Pete Ricketts is encouraging Nebraskans to get vaccinated and to make use of readily available coronavirus tests this holiday season.  The Governor noted that 9 of 10 Nebraskans hospitalized with COVID-19 since the end of October have been unvaccinated. 

 Dr. Gary Anthone, Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, reiterated that vaccination is the best way to combat severe cases of COVID-19.  He also provided information on monoclonal antibody treatments available to Nebraskans who test positive for COVID-19.  The monoclonal antibody treatments have proven to be effective reducing the severity of illness.  To find a treatment site, go to and contact your provider to coordinate the therapy.  For more information on vaccination, Nebraskans can contact the DHHS COVID-19 information line at 531-249-1873.

During today’s briefing, the Governor shared a video message from Natalie Trace, of Curtis.  Natalie described her husband Josh’s battle with coronavirus and the long-term health conditions he’s faced.  She encouraged Nebraskans to take seriously the negative outcomes of contracting COVID-19.

The Governor also announced the extension of three executive orders issued to facilitate hospital planning and ensure additional healthcare workforce capacity.  With the extension, Executive Orders 21-12, 21-15, and 21-17 are now effective through March 31, 2022.  The Governor’s order announcing the extension is available by clicking here.

Additionally, Governor Ricketts announced the State is requesting the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase the rate at which they reimburse long-term care facilities participating in Nebraska Medicaid.  The request is being made in light of the inflationary and workforce pressures many long-term care facilities are experiencing.  If approved by CMS, per diem rates would increase by $20 for dates of service between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022.  This would provide an estimated $21.3 million of additional aid to these long-term care facilities.  The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is ready to implement this change as soon as CMS approves the request.  Any paid claims with a date of service after January 1, 2022 will be automatically re-adjudicated.