Ricketts on the inauguration, the pipeline & COVID tracking

Posted at 10:01 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 13:52:27-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Friday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and officials with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said changes will be coming to how the state is keeping track of COVID-19 information on the state’s website. He also commented on President Biden’s inauguration.

Starting on Friday, January 29, the state will start posting updates in the morning instead of in the evening. In addition, cases will reflect when test specimens were collected as opposed to when lab results verified them as positive. DHHS officials believe the changes will give a clearer picture of daily trends and said new graphs should enhance the experience for users.

The decision to make the changes came after taking down Nebraska’s COVID-19 dashboard for maintenance.

In regards to COVID-19 vaccine supplies, the state should continue to receive about 23,500 a week between Pfizer and Moderna’s. The state is hopeful that both companies will increase production and that Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine could help push those numbers up.

When it comes to registering for vaccination, DHHS officials said all health districts have implemented their own systems and state’s should be in operation next week. If you’ve registered on one, you don’t need to register on the other but if you have it shouldn’t be a problem.

The DHHS is continuing to work with pharmacies and other providers to administer vaccines. Finding providers who have the ability to store vaccines and have the technical infrastructure to connect with the state’s databases has been a challenge one official said.

Fifteen of Nebraska's health districts are already in vaccination phase 1B which allows those who are 65 and older, those who have high-risk medical conditions and those who are essential for infrastructure to get vaccinated. Two additional districts are expected to move to phase 1B next week. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and the Douglas County Health Department are expected to make the move in February.

Phase 1B will take an estimated four months to move through.

Ricketts said he was in attendance for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The governor praised Biden for a message of unity and working as a country to be less divisive. Ricketts contrasted that peaceful day versus riots that took over the Capitol one week prior. On that note, Ricketts said he hopes the president can steer lawmakers away from trying to impeach Trump and going after other lawmakers who may have been involved in stirring up those who stormed the Capitol Building.

On Wednesday, Biden signed an executive order which brought a halt to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska and other parts of the county. Ricketts said the pipeline would allow for good-paying jobs in the state during its construction and potential tax cuts for property owners in the state due to taxation of the line itself.

Read more: Keystone XL oil pipeline halted as President Biden revokes permit

Ricketts believes stopping the pipeline will have a big impact on carbon emissions. He called the pipeline the safest pipeline ever devised and said oil shipped over land or to other countries, with less environmental restrictions, could lead to more greenhouse gases being released into the environment.

Read more: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau ‘disappointed’ with Biden’s decision on first day

The governor was asked if there was any movement on Space Command coming to Omaha and said not at this time.

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