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LINCOLN –  Tuesday afternoon at his daily press briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts talked about best practices to resume elective surgeries at dental offices and dining in restaurants.  Dental facilities with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) can resume operations in Nebraska as of Monday, May 4th.  In some regions of Nebraska, restaurants will be able to reopen their dining areas on May 4th as well.


Zoe Olson, Executive Director of the Nebraska Restaurant Association, overviewed the safety precautions restaurants are taking as they prepare to serve guests.  Dr. Charles “Fritz” Craft, Director of Dental Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and Dr. Ken Tusha, past president of the Nebraska Dental Association (NDA), also joined the Governor today.  They talked about their industry’s efforts to ensure that the reopening of dental clinics takes place safely and smoothly.


Gov. Ricketts: Test Nebraska Reminder

·      Nebraskans have completed about 100,000 health assessments as of this morning.

·      We need every Nebraskan to go to right now and to fill out this quick assessment.

·      We expect scheduling for the first two Test Nebraska testing sites in Grand Island and Omaha to begin soon.

o   We need people not just in these cities, but in the surrounding areas, to take the assessment now.

o   We will begin contacting folks to schedule testing in the near future.


Gov. Ricketts: New Guidelines for Restaurants

·      Last Friday, I announced that we would reopen some of the businesses that temporarily closed on a regional basis.

·      Our Directed Health Measures will require the following for dine-in restaurants:

o   Seating will be limited to 50% of a restaurant’s maximum occupancy rating.

o   Each dining party must maintain a minimum of six feet of separation from other dining parties.

o   Each dining party will be limited to six persons (groups larger than six will need to be seated at separate tables).

o   Self-serve buffets and salad bars are prohibited.  Restaurant staff must serve food directly to customers or implement buffet orders from the customer table. No customer self-service is permitted.

o   Each dining party must be seated at its own table.  Bar and counter seating are not permitted.

o   Patrons may only consume alcohol on the premises if also consuming a meal.

·      Today, the State of Nebraska is unveiling new guidance for restaurants.  It is available by clicking here.

o   Among other things, this guidance includes having all restaurant workers wear cloth masks, limiting the number of roles a worker plays, and pre-screening workers to ensure their health.


Zoe Olson: Resuming Dine-In Services at Restaurants

·      Dining rooms won’t reopen statewide on May 4th.  They will reopen on a regional basis.

·      Together with our members, the National Restaurant Association, and subject matter experts, we’ve developed guidance for restaurants as they reopen their seating areas.

·      It’s available at our website:

·      The Nebraska Restaurant Association will be posting the reopening guidelines in restaurants for diners to view.  The association will also post the reopening requirements issued by the State of Nebraska. 

·      Additionally, we encourage Nebraskans to avoid dining if they have any symptoms of illness.

·      We’re doing everything in our power to make restaurants the safest environments possible for customers.

·      We’ve been moving tables farther apart, doing extra sanitizing, and implementing other policies to keep everyone healthy.


Dr. Fritz Craft: Resuming Dental Services

·      As the dental profession prepares to resume elective surgeries, the DHHS Office of Oral Health, the Nebraska Board of Dentistry, and the Nebraska Dental Association (NDA) have been in constant communication.

·      We’ve pooled our resources to review the latest evidence-based information from the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.

·      We want to ensure that our message to the dental community is clear and consistent at this critical time.

·      We also want to assure the general public that dental services will proceed with safety precautions for patients, dental staff, and providers.

·      The NDA has been working hard to produce interim guidelines and recommendations for dental offices.

·      Their final report has been reviewed by DHHS and the Board of Dentistry.  It will be a living document with ongoing revisions as more becomes known about COVID-19.

·      As dental services resume, there will be enhanced patient screening, elevated PPE, higher levels of infection control, and limitations on certain procedures.

·      The decision to reopen or remain closed is up to each dental practice.

·      The new guidelines produced by the NDA will assist providers in making this decision.


Dr. Ken Tusha: Resuming Dental Services

·      The NDA’s Recommended Office Opening Protocols can be accessed by any member of the public at

·      Dentistry probably won’t come back on like a light switch.  It will be more like a dimmer switch.

·      We’re going to slowly open our offices after we’ve trained out whole team in the new protocols.

·      The new guidelines include training, health screening of teammates, and health screening of patients as they come in.

·      We’re taking steps to eliminate person-to-person interactions in waiting rooms.

·      We’re also going to have enhanced disinfection and make sure everyone has the proper PPE.

·      I’m confident we have the guidelines in place to operate safely.


North Platte, Nebraska - The West Central District Health Department (WCDHD) has two new cases of COVID-19 from Lincoln County. One is a female in her 40s, and the other is a male in his 30s. Both individuals are self-isolating at home. 

A woman in her 60s who was hospitalized and suffered serious underlying health conditions, has become the second COVID-19 related death in Lincoln County. “Our sincerest sympathies goes out to the family,” said Shannon Vanderheiden, Executive Director of WCDHD. 

To date, we have tested 551 individuals in Lincoln County for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of the 551 tested, 22 have been positive. Five are travel-related, six are community spread, nine are due to close contact, and two are under investigation. Sixteen of these cases have recovered, four are self-isolating, and there have been two deaths. All twenty-two cases are within Lincoln County. The DHHS map will reflect these updates soon. Stay informed of new cases by visiting our website at (information will be updated daily 5:45 PM).

Central District Health Department reports that as of today, April 28, 2020, the number of positive COVID-19 cases confirmed by laboratory is 990, and there are 25 deaths. There are 9 cases in Merrick County, 48 cases in Hamilton County and 933 in Hall County.

Monday, April 27th Update: Covid-19 update from the Central District Health Department 
Total of 954 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its area and 25 deaths as of 2:00 PM 4/27/20. 23 new cases today. No new deaths to report. 

Hall County: 899
Hamilton County: 47
Merrick County: 8

LINCOLN, Neb.  — A judge has sentenced a 26-year-old Lincoln man on Monday to more than 70 years in prison for sexual abusing two young girls. Austin Mariscal pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree sexual assault in a deal with prosecutors that spared him a possible life sentence. Lancaster County District Judge John Colborn sentenced Mariscal to 35 to 45 years in prison for each of those charges, with the sentences to be served back to back.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska is continuing to see a surge in coronavirus infections, including new confirmed cases in two counties. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reports 330 new cases, bringing the total to nearly 3,400. Additionally, Cedar and Valley counties confirmed their first cases. Nebraska has seen 55 virus-related deaths so far. State officials previously announced 56 deaths, but later in the day they said one of those deaths was an erroneous entry into the state’s database.


Dear Governor Ricketts: 

We appreciate the leadership you have demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 process. The North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation is respectfully asking you to reconsider the North Platte / Lincoln County area restricted designation and be included on the list of eligible areas in Nebraska to reopen May 11 under the new Directive Health Measures. 


North Platte area residents have been cautious and proactive in following the DHM guidelines set in place, which is now demonstrated by the low number of COVID-19 cases in Lincoln County. We have had only three new cases in the past three weeks, which is considerably less than some of the Nebraska areas listed for reopening. We have had only 20 cases throughout the pandemic. 


West Central District Health Department, which oversees Lincoln County and the counties to our north, announced publicly through the media this past Saturday, that the May 11 date would apply to North Platte. Our business community was very thankful. They have endured a lot, but then WCDHD changed their stance yesterday to a May 31 reopening. They say it was based on the Governor's decision. 


This additional 20-day delay moving our local reopening to May 31 is a business killer for some of our establishments, who are already severely damaged. It will also continue to damage our local economy. Some of our data collecting shows that most of our restaurants are showing a 75 to 80 percent decline in business. Motels are even worse. Some will not make it. 


We all know citizens will only gradually get back into the swing of conducting business as usual, but at least we would be giving our local businesses a fighting chance to succeed with a May 11 opening date under the new DHM as compared to a May 31 reopening date. 


We feel we are being penalized for being neighbors to the counties to our east, which have had high incident rates. We are no closer mileage wise to Lexington than Omaha is to Lincoln, and Omaha gets to open, while Lincoln is still restricted. We hope you will reconsider. 



Dary Person Gary Person President & CEO 

Covid-19 update from the Central District Health Department 
Total of 954 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its area and 25 deaths as of 2:00 PM 4/27/20. 23 new cases today. No new deaths to report. 

Hall County: 899
Hamilton County: 47
Merrick County: 8


City Of Grand Island Covid-19 update 4/27

Posted by KRGI News on Monday, April 27, 2020


Central District Health Department reports that as of today, April 26, 2020, the number of positive COVID-19 cases confirmed by laboratory is 931, and there are 25 deaths.
There are 8 cases in Merrick County, 47 cases in Hamilton County and 876 in Hall County.

(Saturday, April 25th Update) - The Central District Health Department reports as of 4:00 p.m. today April 25, 2020, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed by laboratory is 866. Three more deaths have been reported to bring the total to now 24. Total cases by county include: 8 cases in Merrick County, 47 cases in Hamilton County and 811 in Hall County.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska intends to hold in-person classes on all of its campuses this fall while still accounting for possible coronavirus restrictions. University officials say they wanted to make the announcement early to give students, faculty and staff as much time as possible to plan. The university may still impose some restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. The pandemic has forced colleges and universities nationwide to shift to online-only classes. University of Nebraska officials decided to offer online classes instead of in-person courses for the rest of the spring semester. Courses will still be taught online this summer.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Business owners in Nebraska are starting to plan their comeback, now that the state’s governor has unveiled his plan to ease coronavirus restrictions. Gov. Pete Ricketts said Friday that he will relax restrictions in 59 counties, including those in the Omaha area. The new orders, effective until May 31, allow restaurants to reopen their dining rooms but require them to keep crowds at or below half of their rated occupancy. Dining parties are limited to six people, buffets are still closed, and bars must keep their dining areas closed. Ricketts’ plan also allows barbershops, tattoo parlors, salons and massage therapists to reopen, with restrictions.

OMAHA, Neb. — The state of Nebraska and some cities and counties are getting a combined $6.4 million to address public safety issues during the coronavirus outbreak. The Nebraska Crime Commission received a $4.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to respond to the public safety challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Meanwhile, another $2.1 million was allocated to local jurisdictions, including Omaha, which is getting $1.15 million. In addition, Lincoln received about $429,000, Grand Island received about $85,500, Sarpy County received $58,000 and Bellevue received $35,800.

KEARNEY – Fifty three new cases of COVID-19 were reported today by Two Rivers Public Health Department, increasing the
total to 449 in the seven-county region. Please note, the numbers reported yesterday were current, but a clerical error citing the day as
Tuesday needs to be corrected to Friday. Friday 4/24/2020 reported 53 new cases and Saturday 4/25/2020 is also reporting 53 new cases.
New confirmed cases include:
• Buffalo County 12
• Dawson County 41
Total cases to date in the district’s seven counties are:
Dawson County – 345
Buffalo County – 88
Gosper County – 8
Kearney County – 4
Franklin County –3
Phelps County – 1
Harlan County – 0

Recent studies show that a significant portion of people with COVID-19 lack symptoms and those who eventually develop symptoms can pass the virus to others before showing symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission- . Testing is available to the public at the discretion of health care providers. Individuals are more likely to be tested by if they are essential infrastructure staff, in direct contact with a laboratory confirmed case, a health care worker, first responder or age 65 or older. For more information, call Two Rivers Public Health Department at 888-669-7154 or visit Two Rivers continues to advise citizens to stay home when experiencing illness and seek medical care when necessary.

The Department of Health and Human Services opened a statewide coronavirus (COVID-19) information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to keep them informed. The number is 402-552- 6645. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. 

The Central District Health Department reports as of 4:00 p.m. today April 25, 2020, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed by laboratory is 866. Three more deaths have been reported to bring the total to now 24. Total cases by county include: 8 cases in Merrick County, 47 cases in Hamilton County and 811 in Hall County.

The Nebraska State Activities Association recently held its virtual State Journalism competition, during which all of GICC’s Journalism students placed in various categories for their work. Leading the way was Kajetan Hubl, who took runner-up in Newspaper Layout, 5th in Newspaper Feature Writing, as well as 8th in Sports New Writing.

Ayonya Birthi secured 4th in Yearbook Feature Writing, along with 6th in Yearbook Layout.
Placing 4th in Newspaper Feature Writing was Payton Gangwish.
Jack Kenna took 6th in Yearbook Feature Writing, and 6th in Yearbook Sports Feature Writing.
Hayden Price landed 7th place for his Yearbook Layout, as well as 8th in Editorial Writing.
As a duo, Birthi and Hubl placed 6th in Theme Development category. And as a team, the group earned 8th overall in Class C. “It’s pretty cool that each student in class medaled,” Journalism Instructor Barb Yager-Wach said. “This year’s group are all underclassmen, and their hard work and dedication paid off at State. I’m excited to see what they accomplish next year!”

These NSAA Journalism honors follow the previously-awarded Journalism Education Association recognitions of Kenna, who received an Excellent for his Yearbook Layout, and Birthi and Gangwish who both received Honorable Mentions for Yearbook Sports Writing.
Also awarded prior to State were the Nebraska Press Women Honorable Mentions for Feature Story Writing to Gangwish, Hubl and Kenna.

Central District Health Department reports that as of 2:00 p.m. today, April 24, 2020, the number of positive cases confirmed by laboratory is 760 with 21 deaths.

There are 8 cases in Merrick County, 31 cases in Hamilton County and 721 in Hall County. The most recent deaths are a man in his 30's from Hall County, and a female in her 70's from Hall County.


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Gov. Pete Ricketts says he doesn’t plan to close any of Nebraska’s meatpacking plants despite a surge in coronavirus cases in their surrounding communities that have turned them into the state’s biggest hot spots. Ricketts says he was concerned that shuttering the plants could hurt the state’s food supply and lead to “civil unrest” if residents suddenly lose access to meat. His comments came as Dakota County, home to a Tyson plant, reported 133 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 246.

Central District Health Department reports that as of 2:00 p.m. today, April 23, 2020, the number of positive laboratory confirmed cases is 700 with 19 deaths. There are 7 cases in Merrick County, 29 cases in Hamilton County, 664 cases in Hall County. The most recent death is a male in his 60's and from Hall County.

For more information on Covid-19 case numbers relating to the three county area served by the Central District Health Department visit 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A new Nebraska website designed to ramp up testing for the coronavirus logged about 20,000 new registrations on its first day, and the data residents submit could help determine which parts of the state get tested first. Gov. Pete Ricketts says the $27 million program, similar to ones Iowa and Utah, will help state officials decide where to first use the 540,000 new tests that were included in the deal. He says front-line medical and public safety workers will get first priority for testing, followed by people who report a lot of symptoms on the Test Nebraska website, followed by people with just a symptoms and then potentially people who are asymptomatic.

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