Though state-level data about the effects of COVID-19 on Nebraskans remain incomplete, the numbers indicate minorities were diagnosed with the virus at a far higher rate than the state’s white population.
Responding to previous requests to provide ethnic and racial data associated with coronavirus cases in Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts turned to Dannette Smith, chief executive officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, to share the data.
As expected, Latinos have borne a disproportionate share of the caseload due to a heavy concentration of Latino and immigrant workers in Nebraska’s meat processing industry, where workers on fast-moving production lines labor shoulder to shoulder and often directly across from one another.
A current compilation shows 48% of Nebraskans who have tested positive for the virus to be Latino and 7% African-American.
However, the vast majority of Nebraskans who died of the coronavirus — 75% — were white, which can largely be attributed to clusters in senior living facilities. Those who identified as Latino comprised 20% of the state’s deaths.
There have been 2,988 positive cases of infection among meatpacking workers with 140 hospitalizations and 11 deaths.
As of Friday, DHHS reported 170 Nebraskans had died of COVID-19, and 13,654 had been diagnosed with the disease.
What the data also uncovered, Smith said, is the comparatively smaller percentage of hospitalization of people of color, particularly African Americans.
“It says there is some disparity in how people are accessing health care or if they are accessing health care,” she said.
People need to realize that medical care and hospitalization to treat infection by the coronavirus will come at no cost to the patient, both the governor and Smith emphasized.
“We have a lot of work to do with our communities of color,” Smith said.
Smith said the state’s data is incomplete and that DHHS will have better data available online at the end of June.
Asked if earlier implementation of Medicaid expansion approved by Nebraska voters a year and a half ago would have been helpful in prompting more people to access care, Smith said “that remains to be seen” when the new Medicaid expansion program becomes effective in October.
Ricketts noted that the state’s current restrictions in response to the virus will begin to loosen on Monday when June arrives. The overall limitation on the size of gatherings will rise from 10 to 25 people.
But Nebraskans will continue to be asked to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from one another, the governor said, and everyone should wear a face mask when in contact with others outside the home.
“Now it’s time to get Nebraska growing and help folks get back to as normal of a life as possible,” Ricketts said in the governor’s weekly column released shortly after the briefing concluded.
Latest updates on coronavirus in Lincoln and nearby
See the latest news as more coronavirus cases are identified in Nebraska.
More than 1,000 residents have now been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Lincoln and Lancaster County, health officials announced Friday.
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Lincoln residents, many donning masks and keeping their distance from others, visited local cemeteries to pay their respects.
Jenny Michener was feted by a drive-thru party celebrating her graduation from Lincoln Southeast on a day devoted to grads.
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More than 3,000 high school seniors in Lincoln are graduating into a world nobody’s navigated before, staring into a pandemic that has closed schools, slashed families’ economic security and, for many graduates, changed their college plans.
NU athletic director Bill Moos knows he and his staff will be judged on how they handle their business during the pandemic. So far, so good.
David Graff works remotely these days, as do the hundreds who call Hudl’s high-tech headquarters in the Haymarket their workplace.
Intensive care hospital beds at less than 20% available.
At this point, Bill Moos says, he can’t say for certain that Nebraska will play all — or even any — of its non-conference games.
Retirement didn’t last long for former Lincoln Fire and Rescue Chief Mike Despain.
Five Lincoln public pools — Arnold Heights, Ballard, Belmont, Irvingdale and Woods — will open to the public in a limited capacity on June 15.
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Moos said Nebraska’s plan for bringing student-athletes back to campus is detailed and thorough enough that the Big Ten requested that it be shared with other schools in the conference.
Two dozen of the area’s most popular parks, like Branched Oak, Pawnee and Platte, remain closed to tent camping.
There might be more hand sanitizer and disinfectants in the ballpark than spectators, but there will be baseball in the Capital City.
Lost revenue and potential future impacts on state funding led UNL to freeze salaries for the year, Chancellor Ronnie Green said.
We’re putting together a list of businesses that are reopening in the Lincoln area. Let us know your plans by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost two-thirds of Nebraska’s 49 senators are in a high-risk category for COVID-19 complications because of age or underlying health conditions.
Three more inmates at the Community Corrections Center-Omaha have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to seven inmates who have t…
Nebraska is delaying volleyball season ticket renewals due to pandemic-related uncertainty, the school confirmed to the Journal Star on Wednesday.
At middle and high schools across the city, teachers made signs and hung decorations and put on costumes and played music to help students note the end of a school year where dining room tables and bedroom desks became the classroom.
This year would have marked the 153rd annual community Fourth of July celebration in Seward, which first put on an event in the local town square in 1868.
The increase in patients is a sign of the pent-up demand for elective procedures that were temporarily prohibited, hospital officials say.
Monday’s flyover was part of a pre-planned training flight and included more than 30 Nebraska hospitals, ending with those in Lincoln.
Prosecutors charged Nyadak Tut, of Lincoln, with assault on a health care professional, a felony.
As other establishments slowly begin to open their doors, John Losito and Jason Korn think it could be time to do the same.
Laboratory testing showed the new mask caught more than 90% of airborne particles expelled into the mask.
Sen. Ben Sasse spoke during Fremont High School’s virtual graduation Saturday and spent a majority of his speech ripping China for causing the pandemic and making jokes about psychologists and people named Jeremy.
The first wedding party to celebrate at the Lincoln Commercial Club Ballroom had plenty of room to keep their distance — and to set up a game of cornhole.
Here’s the unlikely story of how a punk rock star wrote a song about the editor of the Journal Star.
A Lincoln woman exhibited many of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 but tested negative — doctors say she’s not the only one.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson are taking the lead on the coalition. The letter is also signed by attorneys general in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.
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Lincoln needs to outlaw price-gouging during emergencies such as this pandemic, City Councilman James Michael Bowers said Monday.
For Marci Davison of Carmela’s, and other Lincoln business owners, reopening after a trying six weeks marked a milestone of sorts.
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Gov. Pete Ricketts called the suggestion “ludicrous.”
This columnist isn’t ready to dine out yet, and some local venues aren’t ready to have customers in the door yet, either. Find out who’s in and who is waiting for COVID-19 cases to dwindle.
Medical professionals acknowledge the pressure from both sides about reopening, and the effects of economic turmoil. But health effects of the disease and deaths are equally important, they say.
Catholic churches will not be holding Mass on Sunday and most of the city’s Protestant churches will not be reopening, even though they are allowed to do so under statewide rules.
While facing technological, social and financial challenges, the percentage of students who did at least some coursework ranged from 44% at North Star to 90% at Southwest, and most schools had less than 60% of students engaging, according to rough estimates.
The city begins its new directed health measure on Monday. It runs through June 30.
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On Thursday, during both National Nurses Week and National Hospitals Week, the selfie walls were installed at both Bryan East and Bryan West Campus hospitals.
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Officers broke up recent beach parties with more than 100 people.
Gov. Ricketts said he has tried to balance restrictions with a regional loosening of mandates that preserves citizen willingness and responsibility, an approach sometimes described as “the hammer and the dance.”
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B&R is seeing higher costs for many pork and beef products and supply is limited, the stores’ marketing director said.
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So why did one customer come to Gateway Friday? “Sick of sitting at home. Wanted to get a new pair of kicks. My wife’s at work. I’ve got nothing to do.”
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The 669 workers with the virus represent over 15% of the Dakota City plant’s workforce.
Arnold Zimmerman’s family had his obituary written.
The Lincoln Airport, which already has seen its passenger numbers crater because of COVID-19, is about to take another hit.
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Bob Ravenscroft said Bryan Health has experienced some “pretty pointed” criticism that its stance on masks is politically motivated.
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On a quiet street in Lincoln, a musician plays the accordion during the pandemic, delighting neighbors and passersby.
No official city fireworks this year, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said. What do you think of the decision?
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