LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — On Thursday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, remotely and in quarantine due to coming into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID, provided an update on the state’s coronavirus response efforts. If the curve doesn’t come down, Ricketts said the state is prepared to enact stricter Directed Health Measures (DHM).
The central theme for today’s press briefing, echoed by all who spoke, was that Nebraskans need to do their part in stopping the spread. This can be done by avoiding the three Cs said each person.
- Avoiding crowding spaces
- Avoid close contact
- And avoiding gathering in confined spaces.
On Wednesday, stricter DHMs went into effect but a doctor in Omaha said it’s not enough, saying, “We must do everything we can to reverse these trends. If things get completely out of control, every family in Nebraska will be affected either by a death or by serious illness.”
Other infectious disease experts say stronger measures should've been put in place weeks ago.
“The lag effect from when you change something in the epidemic kinetics and you dramatically reduce transmission it still takes a couple of weeks to see the effect of that and for the curve to start bending," UNMC infectious disease expert Dr. James Lawler said.
In regards to the governor and the first lady’s health, Ricketts said that they both feel fine and have yet to undergo testing. Regardless of the results, the governor said people cannot test out of quarantine, citing those who have tested positive on the last day of the recommended 14-day period.
Watch below or on our Facebook page.
3 News Now Reporter Ruta Ulcinaite is providing live updates on Twitter:
"The pandemic is getting worse here in Nebraska," Ricketts said. Almost 900 COVID hospitalizations across the state. Saying the virus is all across NE, not just in Omaha and Lincoln. The graph below shows just how fast cases are climbing. pic.twitter.com/kPq2WliOAV— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
Gov. Ricketts now talking about his own COVID exposure Sunday evening. Says he is not experiencing any symptoms.— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
Still no mention of stronger DHM's, additional measures being taken at the state level.— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
COVID survivor is now up talking about his experience. He was on a ventilator for 19 days. Was positive for COVID for 35 days. Has now recovered.— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
Reminder: Douglas County has 45 ICU beds left available for an 85% occupancy rate.
Governor has not been tested yet. Says it needs to be 3/4 days after exposure to test accurately. His exposure again was Sunday.— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
Gov. says he has no reports of patients being turned away at hospitals. Says regarding contact tracing, state contact tracers are getting a hold of people about 85% of the time. State has over 1,000 ppl trained that can help w/ tracing that can be used by local health depts.— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
Gov. says he will take more restrictive measures is cases keep growing. Nothing new announced yet. "Options are on table", but opposes mask mandate.— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
What are chances businesses are shut down again?— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020
Ricketts: We put in 2 new DHM's. Additional restrictions could follow if cases don't go down soon. Restrictions could look similar to what we saw in the spring. Says informal gatherings is where most of the spread is happening.
Dr. Anthone: One of the reasons we're getting more cases is because we're doing more testing. We are still seeing the positivity rate going up though.— Ruta Ulcinaite KMTV (@RutaUlcinaite) November 12, 2020