Lincoln and Lancaster County stood alone Monday in retaining a limited array of coronavirus control restrictions as the rest of the state moved into a new and more relaxed phase that Gov. Pete Ricketts said will “allow people to return to a more normal life.”
While the governor said he disagrees with the need for Lincoln and Lancaster County to remain in Phase 3 restrictions that include some group and distancing limitations in restaurants and bars, along with other indoor venues, he acknowledged that the county has a special “carve-out” that allows it to take independent action.
That includes authority to issue the mask mandate that currently is in effect. A City Council-approved mask mandate remains in place in Omaha even as Douglas County moves to Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan.
“I think we’re able to move forward,” Ricketts said during a news conference at the Capitol.
“I think we are taking appropriate steps to go back to a more normal life while continuing to manage the spread of the virus,” he said.
Ricketts continued to urge Nebraskans to maintain social distancing and to wear masks “when appropriate” in order to help manage the virus.
“I know people are tired of this,” he said. “I get it. But we need to continue to manage it.
“I am not in favor of mandates,” the governor said, preferring instead to educate people about the need to wear a mask when grocery shopping or in other crowded indoor conditions and to maintain physical distancing and avoid crowds.
Phase 4 mandates include limiting crowds in large indoor venues to 75% of capacity.
The next step would be “no directed health measure,” Ricketts said. “No restrictions, like pre-pandemic.”
Lincoln’s decision to adopt a mask mandate was triggered, in part, in anticipation of University of Nebraska students returning to the Lincoln campus and the accompanying spread of the virus in the community.
Lancaster County has reported more coronavirus cases than any county in the state in the past 14 days.
Ricketts described the virus as “simmering” and said there will continue to be “an amount of virus transmission.”
“We’re going to continue to manage this,” he said.
Hospital capacity remains robust, he suggested.
Latest figures: 36% of hospital beds available; 35% of intensive care unit beds available; 83% of ventilators available.
The state reported 147 new cases Monday, setting the total number of cases at 38,335. There have been 434 deaths linked to the disease in Nebraska.
On other matters, Ricketts turned the spotlight on military caregivers who are largely family members who help veterans manage their injuries at home, often with care-giving that amounts to a full-time job.
The governor signed a proclamation designating those caregivers as “Hidden Heroes.”
Andrea Dorsey of Omaha, whose husband, Joe, was wounded in Iraq, participated in the event along with John Hilgert, director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Joe Dorsey was injured in an IED explosion in 2004, returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders and neck and back injuries that have progressively worsened over the years.
Andrea, a public school teacher, is also the mother of two children.
Milestones in coronavirus fight
Milestones in Lincoln and Nebraska’s coronavirus fight
See the top stories on coronavirus in Lincoln and Nebraska since the pandemic first affected the area in March.
The touring version of the iconic ’60s rock ’n’ roll band brought the “fun, fun, fun” to Pinewood Bowl on Sunday even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As of late afternoon Friday, forms to learn remotely had been submitted for about 16% of LPS students, kindergarten registrations were down by about 120 students compared with last year, and statewide applications for home schooling are up 21%.
A group of Community Breastfeeding Educators found dads from their cultural communities to share a pandemic safety message with their fellow dads to help keep families free of the virus.
“We’re treating it like a civil matter,” Lincoln City Attorney Yohance Christie said Saturday evening. “In order to enforce a civil matter, you go to court.”
The Omaha site will seek about 350 participants for the COVID-19 vaccine trial. “They’re the true heroes here.”
Jocelyn Herstein lives in Lincoln but has a German fiance living in Switzerland; they and others like them bear the brunt of travel restrictions.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department has moved its COVID-19 risk dial to the low-orange range, still considered high-risk but an imp…
Adi Pour said Nebraska Attorney General’s Office questioned her ability to implement a mask requirement.
The in-person portion of the fair looked much different Thursday, with none of the usual extras including rides, carnival games, food stands and entertainers. It seemed that there were more animals on the fairgrounds than people.
Come Saturday, 27 of the state’s 93 counties will be clear of most restrictions prompted by the coronavirus.
More than half of COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks have hit those between 21 and 29.
Students will attend in-person classes two or three days a week based on their last name.
Last week, New York. This week, Chicago. COVID quarantine orders could limit your travel plans.
The housing unit where the outbreak occurred is separate from the intake area where more than 100 protesters were processed over the weekend, a spokesperson said.
Journal Star photographers have captured life in the city for the past months with some activities going on as usual but many sights out of the norm.
So far, 376 employees have asked for some kind of accommodations from LPS, including requests to work remotely, take leave or modify their work spaces with plexiglass barriers or additional PPE.
Despite the closures announced Saturday, many young Lincoln residents went out in the area that night to drink and dine. Many were seated in outdoor areas, but some bars had a number of patrons indoors as well.
Lancaster County broke last week’s record for the most cases of COVID-19 reported in a single week.
Two downtown bars, along with the Railyard commons area, have been ordered to close for violations of the city’s directed health measure.
Celebrations were in order for Lincoln Southwest graduates as they streamed out of Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday morning. Inside, it was time to get to work.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, faculty and staff will have access to COVID-19 testing this fall through a University Health Center p…
Getting to celebrate high school graduation at an in-person ceremony was the first “yes” Marysa A. Barnhill heard in a while after a constant …
A recent spike of cases in Thayer County was linked to golf tournaments in Clay Center and York.
What if an effective early indicator of the spread of COVID-19 isn’t the number of nasal swabs performed, or contacts interviewed, but instead what has been flushed down the toilet?
District officials have a contact tracing and notification plan in place for the “likely event” that a student or staff member is exposed to coronavirus, Steve Joel said.
City health officials are considering restricting gathering sizes, revising sports requirements, requiring masks in public spaces and even clo…
Wearing a mask is “just one tool” in controlling the virus, along with social distancing and hand-washing, Gov. Ricketts said, and “I think we get better compliance if you don’t make it a mandate.”
City health officials sounded an alarm Friday about rising coronavirus cases in Lancaster County, pushing the local risk dial into the orange,…
“Ten percent of Nebraskans have been tested,” the governor said. “That’s a good number. That’s progress.”
Cases in Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy County are growing fastest in the state.
From Christmas lights in Minden to a COVID-19 test relay by the State Patrol, many people have stepped up to spread cheer and kindness in Linc…
Plans are to host 4-H exhibits and contests on the first weekend of the fair, and FFA activities on the second weekend. The fair might “go dark” during the week, director Bill Ogg said.
Nebraska has tested roughly 250 student-athletes and staff, and there have been eight positive tests, including five football players.
The decision by Lincoln Public Schools to bring staff and students back to school in the fall, Brent Toalson worried, would pose too great a chance that he could expose his family to the virus.
So far this month, 65% of the positive cases have been in people under 40, interim Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director Pat Lopez said Friday.
A Nebraska woman claims a county official from Kansas and his wife may have exposed her to COVID-19 at a hotel pool in Valentine.
State Sen. Mike Moser was working outside in his yard the night before Mother’s Day when it became apparent something was wrong.
If you are hoping antibody testing for COVID-19 might help in getting things back to normal until there’s a vaccine, you’re likely to be disap…
Parents who oppose having students and staff wear masks when school resumes in the fall asked the Lincoln Board of Education to reconsider the…
The Event Center pre-party will feature Omaha country band Silas Creek with food trucks on the grounds and beverage sales.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus will look a lot different for the fall 2020 semester.
“Customers may be encouraged to wear face coverings, but may not be refused service for failure to do so,” according to Taylor Gage, the governor’s spokesman.
Much of what the coming school year will look like — masks for students or remote learning — depends on the “risk dial” maintained by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.
Less than a day after announcing plans to hold drive-thru graduations at high schools, Lincoln Public Schools made arrangements for modified in-person ceremonies to be held at the arena.
Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday announced the further loosening of restrictions implemented to control the spread of the coronavirus in Nebraska,…
The Heartland Workers Center has seen somewhat disastrous results from employees not knowing what’s going on in their workplaces.
The risk dial remains in the moderate category, but the dial inched closer to the low risk area.
Nebraska could suffer nearly $3.7 billion in agricultural income losses this year due to the coronavirus if economic conditions do not improve…
Pat Lopez, interim director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, stressed the importance of tests for those who gathered among large crowds.
Inmates in Nebraska’s 10 prisons may voluntarily seek coronavirus testing even if they show no symptoms, Nebraska Department of Correctional S…
Officials said they plan to test all National Guard personnel who have been on duty assisting police in Lincoln and Omaha.
Nebraska now has a second case of a coronavirus-related complication that affects children.
They call it “window wellness,” a visit to residents of assisted-living facilities who can’t have visitors in the buildings because of COVID-19 precautions.
Lincoln’s first person identified to have a case of community spread COVID-19 had his family tested for antibodies. Both the results and what they mean are mixed.
Eleven employees and one patient have tested positive for the coronavirus at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Lincoln.
A Lincoln woman started a Facebook photo page to share pictures of what she was making during the pandemic. She thought she’d be lucky to get 80 members.
Though state-level data about the effects of COVID-19 on Nebraskans remain incomplete, the numbers indicate minorities were diagnosed with the…
On a calendar void of the Red-White Spring Game, the Lincoln Marathon and the blue jackets of the annual state FFA convention, the loss of the…
Starting Monday, adult patients will be allowed one healthy adult visitor.
“I wouldn’t be running this test in this laboratory if I didn’t believe in it,” said CHI Health St. Elizabeth lab director Becky Croner. “… If there is any reason I don’t believe the results are correct, we pull it and run it again.”
Bob Ravenscroft said Bryan Health has experienced some “pretty pointed” criticism that its stance on masks is politically motivated.
No official city fireworks this year, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said. What do you think of the decision?
Six weeks ago, a Boy Scout from Firth launched a 3-D printing project to help the sore ears of frontline workers during the pandemic; he’s shipping free EarSavers all over the country now.
After 30 days at the medical center and three weeks of isolation at her father’s home in west Omaha, Emma Hutchinson was allowed to resume eating solid food and say goodbye to “Fred,” her nickname for the feeding tube.
More than 1,000 residents have now been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Lincoln and Lancaster County, health officials announced Friday.
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.
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.
Lincoln police didn’t write any tickets for a violation of Lancaster County’s directed health measure, according to city officials.
For Marci Davison of Carmela’s, and other Lincoln business owners, reopening after a trying six weeks marked a milestone of sorts.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in Nebraska reached the century mark on Monday, with deaths reported in hard-hit Douglas, Hall and Dawson counties.
Gov. Pete Ricketts called the suggestion “ludicrous.”
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.
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.
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.
Lincoln and Lancaster County will implement eased restrictions beginning Monday, after Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and her health director relu…
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.”
The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Lincoln and Lancaster County has led a national coronavirus case tracking system to label the area as a pote…
Months of planning and entire careers in public health have prepared the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department for what one employee called “the most defining moment of most of our lives.”
Cain revealed on a video posted to Huskers.com that some of her immediate family members have recovered after bouts with coronavirus.
Viengxay Khuninh, a worker at a Tyson plant in Dakota City, developed a cough, then a fever, last month. Less than a week later, he was dead.
Air National Guard member spends several weeks working in New York City hospital, goes home with COVID-19.
“The stories that came from those families, you could hear the common themes — I’m frightened, my hours were reduced, I’ve never been in this situation before,” said Foundation for LPS President Wendy Van DeLaCastro.
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.”
At least 48 of those who have died in Nebraska thus far because of the coronavirus were residents of long-term care facilities.
Arnold Zimmerman’s family had his obituary written.
How the 1918 influenza pandemic and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic are similar — and different.
Bryan Health said Wednesday that it has started treating COVID-19 patients with blood plasma from people who have recovered from the disease.
Lincoln funeral homes are staggering visitations and live-streaming services in the time of coronavirus.
As bad as the losses from major event cancellations are, economists say the economic damage they cause is likely to pale compared to the effects of the widespread closings of restaurants, retail stores and other businesses.
Tournament attendance will be limited to immediate family members of coaches and players.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @LJSdon
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