Six Rules to Keep Nebraska Healthy
By Governor Pete Ricketts
April 14, 2020
Governor’s official photo here.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, Nebraska is expected to reach our peak in the coming weeks. To help Nebraska stay focused on slowing the spread of the virus, I recently designated April 10th – April 30th as “21 Days to Stay Home and Stay Healthy.” As the virus starts to peak in our state, we need Nebraskans to be especially mindful about limiting its spread.
During this critical phase, we are asking everyone to follow six rules to keep Nebraska healthy:
- Stay home. No non-essential errands and no social gatherings. Respect the ten-person limit.
- Socially distance your work. Work from home or use the six-foot rule as much as possible in the workplace.
- Shop alone and only shop once a week. Do not take family with you.
- Help kids follow social distancing. Play at home. No group sports. And no playgrounds.
- Help seniors stay at home by shopping for them. Do not visit long-term care facilities.
- Exercise daily at home or with an appropriately socially-distanced activity.
These six rules will unite Nebraskans in our shared goal of slowing the spread of the virus as we pass through its peak period.
As we continue to learn more about the virus, it’s important to understand the symptoms and risks of COVID-19. If you have a cough, fever, or shortness of breath, you should stay home and contact your medical provider. People with pre-existing conditions are at high risk for COVID-19. These conditions include severe asthma, heart disease, a compromised immune system, diabetes, and lung disease. It’s especially important for at-risk Nebraskans to remain home. If you’re elderly or have health conditions, please reach out to family, friends, co-workers, or your place of worship for help with shopping and meal delivery.
At this time, Nebraskans in good health should help these vulnerable populations and take steps to look after their family, friends, and neighbors who may need extra assistance. The leaders of Greeley Care Home and Assisted Living exemplify the spirit of selflessness and sacrifice that’s helping us win the war on the virus. On March 16th, six staff at the Greeley nursing home decided they did not want to risk catching the virus and exposing residents to it. So they moved in to the nursing home. It’s been their home away from home now for a month. Other staff members go home at nights but have chosen not to do any shopping, meal pickup, or trips to the gas station. They’ve asked family and friends to perform these errands so that they do not have to be out in public. I admire their dedicated commitment to the health and well-being of residents at Greeley Care Home and Assisted Living.
To help keep our health care workers and first responders healthy, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is launching a pilot program to provide lodging for them. Many health care workers, EMS, law enforcement, and corrections officers are concerned about exposing loved ones to the virus—or being exposed by them—after their shift ends and they return home. DHHS is partnering with local hotels to provide lodging to these frontline workers so that they can temporarily live in a more isolated setting. These accommodations are for first responders and medical professionals who cannot quarantine at home or who live in the same household as someone with an elevated risk of infection. Individuals interested in taking part in the program should call 833-220-0018 or visit cip-dhhs.ne.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=8PMAMPKT98 to request a room.
During this tough time for businesses, Nebraskans have also been stepping up to support Main Street. For example, many Nebraskans have made a commitment to regularly order food and drinks from their local coffeehouse or restaurant during the pandemic. These efforts are helping our dining establishments meet payroll and keep the lights on. Last week, KMTV reported that Nebraska ranks #2 in the nation for supporting dining establishments by ordering takeout and delivery. I urge Nebraskans to continue to participate in Takeout Tuesday each week and to shop online using delivery from local retailers every day. I know our small businesses are extremely grateful for the ongoing support they’ve received from their communities in recent weeks.
Whether you’re from Scottsbluff, Seward, Ogallala, or Omaha, we’re in this fight together. To stay up to date on the latest information, please visit www.Governor.Nebraska.gov and subscribe to the COVID-19 updates. You can also visit dhhs.ne.gov/COVID for more information. Let’s continue to support one another and work together as Nebraskans to win the war against the virus. May God give strength and wisdom to our heath care workers, may God protect the vulnerable among us, and may God bless the great state of Nebraska.