03-Apr-2020 / Central District Health Department
Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports health care workers in three long-term care facilities in the Central District have tested positive for COVID-19. These facilities include Westfield Quality Center in Aurora, Emerald Nursing and Rehab Lakeview, and Heritage at Sagewood both in Grand Island. Additionally, CDHD reports a total of 41 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Central District as of 5:00 pm today.
CDHD is working with the three long-term care facilities to identify those who may have been exposed to the virus, so that they can take appropriate actions. These actions include a 14-day quarantine for those exposed. Employees and residents who may become infected with the virus may initially have no or mild symptoms that may or may not worsen to severe symptoms. Staff at these facilities will be monitoring patients, as well as, staff in order to identify symptoms early on and prevent additional exposures.
CDHD continues to be vigilant for new exposures, especially groups at higher risk for severe illness. These groups include people age 65 or older and those living in nursing homes or long-term facilities. People with chronic lung disease, asthma, serious heart conditions, conditions that cause a person to have a compromised immune system, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or liver disease are at higher risk for severe illness.
“There are many unknowns regarding COVID-19. We do know that every person is at risk for being infected, and we know that some young healthy individuals have become quite ill with the virus,” states Anderson. “We also know that there is no specific treatment for a person infected with COVID-19. Our best defense is to prevent the spread, that requires all of us taking this seriously.”
02-Apr-2020 / Central District Health Department
As of 4:00 p.m. today, Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports a running total of thirty-three (33) positive lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. This number includes twelve (12) new cases, of which nine (9) are in Hall, two are in Hamilton County, and includes the first confirmed case for Merrick County. This is a 50% increase over yesterday’s count of 21. Please note these numbers do not include the cases which are diagnosed by healthcare providers based on symptom pattern. Since there is no specific treatment for Covid-19 infections, providers determine the necessity of testing. It is estimated that for every person diagnosed with COVID-19, 10 people have it but have not been diagnosed.
CDHD is issuing an additional directed health measure, DHM 2020-2, that will effectively close salons and parks in the Central District until further notice. Please refer to the directed health measure for further details. Hike and bike trails will remain open. CDHD encourages the community to get out and travel the trails, keeping social distancing in mind.
It is absolutely essential to stay away from others whenever you can. We know that we have community wide-spread. We also know that some people carry the virus but have no or very mild symptoms, so they continue to be out in the community. This means that when you are around others, you put yourself and others at risk for catching COVID-19. Limit your outings to stores as much as possible and only send one family member into the store at a time. If you are sick, stay away from others. Remember, it is important for everyone to wash their hands often and well.
Our community is now being targeted by the COVID-19 virus. The choices we each make in the coming days are absolutely critical to reducing the number of people who become infected with the virus.
02-Apr-2020 / Press Release From UW
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Heartland United Way and Greater Grand Island Community Foundation will postpone Go Big GIVE to July 7th, 2020. Pre-give will begin June 22nd through July 6th.
After many discussions with the Go Big GIVE team, community members and the participating nonprofit organizations, the decision to postpone Go Big GIVE was not taken lightly. The Go Big GIVE team feels the new date will give business and communities time to recover from these difficult times.
01-Apr-2020 / Nebraska State Patrol
APRIL 1, 2020 (KEARNEY, NEB.) — Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol have arrested three people and seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop near Kearney.
The traffic stop occurred at approximately 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, when a trooper observed a Chevrolet Tahoe fail to signal a turn as it exited Interstate 80 near Kearney. During the traffic stop, the trooper detected clandestine activity.
Troopers performed a search of the vehicle and found 20 pounds of methamphetamine and two ounces of marijuana. The driver, Shanae Douglas, 31, of Gary, Indiana, was also discovered to have a revoked driver’s license.
Douglas, and passengers Antoinette Brandy, 33, of Gary, Indiana, and Juwan Powell, 21, of Harvey, Illinois, were all arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to deliver, and possession of marijuana. Douglas was also cited for driving with a revoked driver’s license. All three were lodged in Buffalo County Jail.
01-Apr-2020 / City Of GI
The City of Grand Island Public Works Department is announcing the North Road Paving Improvement Project will begin the week of April 6, 2020. North Road is scheduled to be closed on Monday, April 6, 2020 from Northwest High School to Highway 2. This segment of North Road is tentatively planned to be closed until August 2020.
The North Road project includes reconstruction from Capital Avenue to Highway 2. The project will consist of removal of the existing 24’ wide asphalt roadway and construct a concrete curb and gutter, 3-lane, 41’ wide roadway section. A roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of Capital Avenue and North Road. The project will also include storm sewer construction, sidewalk improvements, water main adjustments and sanitary sewer extension at Northview Drive.
On March 10, 2020, City Council awarded the construction contract to Diamond Engineering Company of Grand Island, Nebraska for $3,335,787.35
For more information on the roadway project, and other Public Works projects, visit the projects webpage at www.drivegi.com, or call Public Works at 308-385-5455.
01-Apr-2020 / CDHD Release
This morning, Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports a lab-confirmed positive test in a long-term care facility in Hall County. The positive test is in a health care worker. CDHD is currently working with the facility to identify possible exposures and to advise as to prevention measures.
31-Mar-2020 / Central District Health Department
Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports a total of fifteen (15) lab-confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. today, up from a total of 6 yesterday morning. Fourteen (14) cases are in Hall County and one (1) case is in Hamilton County. The total number of tests administered is not known since various labs both private and public are processing tests. The increased number of positive tests is concerning but not unexpected. “We will continue to monitor the number of positive cases in our three-county area, and take necessary actions to protect our community,” states Anderson.
Anderson reminds community members that social distancing is the responsibility of everyone ALL the time. Fresh air and sunshine are great both physically and mentally, but there are limits. It is not possible to play games like basketball or soccer and keep a 6-foot distance even outdoors. Outdoor activities that maintain social distancing include taking family walks or bike rides, hiking, boating, fishing, gardening, camping with the family, etc. As long as, a 6-foot distance between people is maintained, outdoor activities are encouraged. Also remember, ten or more people create a gathering inside or outside. “We are asking that people practice social distancing regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors,” says Anderson.
We see that as weeks go by, social distancing is becoming more of the standard and people are adapting to the idea of continuously maintaining that 6-foot distance. It is up to each of us to protect ourselves, our families and each other. Slowing the spread of the virus remains our chief goal.
31-Mar-2020 / Nebraska Governors Office
LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts held a press conference to announce that the State of Nebraska has extended statewide social distancing restrictions through April 30th. Earlier in March, the State of Nebraska issued social distancing restrictions for the entire state. The previously announced restrictions, which have now been extended, can be found by clicking here.
In addition to these social distancing restrictions, 30 counties are currently covered by a Directed Health Measure which can be found by clicking here.
At the news conference, Gov. Ricketts detailed new unemployment programs being implemented in Nebraska as a result of federal legislation to aid the pandemic response. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, 2020.
The Governor explained that the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) is undertaking software changes and making other preparations to roll out the unemployment programs outlined in the CARES Act. Nebraska’s Labor Commissioner, John Albin, is working directly with the U.S. Department of Labor to expedite implementation of the unemployment programs. At today’s press briefing, Commissioner Albin joined the Governor to overview the unemployment programs contained in the CARES Act and to report on the State’s preparations to administer them.
Those programs include:
· Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Allows unemployment benefits to individuals who have exhausted all other unemployment benefits, and those not eligible for other unemployment benefits, including workers who are self-employed and independent contractors. The minimum PUA weekly payment will be $174 and top out at $440.
· Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – This emergency increase in Unemployment Insurance Benefits adds $600 per week in federal benefits to the unemployment benefit amount for COVID-19 unemployment claims, including PUA claims.
· Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – Allows 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to be added to the end of the normal 26 weeks of benefits.
· Short Time Compensation Programs (also known as Work Share) – Provides federal funding of Short-Time Compensation, a program that allows businesses to uniformly reduce their teammates’ hours while the workers receive a partial unemployment benefit.
At today’s press event, Governor Ricketts also signed a proclamation to designate every Tuesday from March 31st through the end of April 2020 as “Takeout Tuesday.” The purpose of the proclamation is to encourage Nebraskans to support their local dining establishments as these restaurants continue to serve customers during the pandemic.
R.J. Vega, with Copal restaurant in Lincoln, thanked the Governor for the proclamation during the press conference. Vega described the challenges restaurants have faced due to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency. Servers, bartenders, and hourly staff have had their lives profoundly impacted. Restaurants have struggled to make payroll and keep the lights on. Vega also spoke of Copal’s innovative work to overcome these challenges by transitioning its business model from dine-in to carry-out and delivery.
Gov. Ricketts also reiterated the State’s social distancing measures at the press conference.
· Some Local Health Departments (LHD) in Lincoln and metro Omaha have issued additional restrictions on social gatherings and/or businesses. Check with your LHD for additional information.
· The 10-person limitation applies to outdoor gatherings like picnics or outdoor activities like sand volleyball.
· Travelers coming back to Nebraska from out of state should self-quarantine for 14 days. This includes snowbirds returning to Nebraska after having spent the winter in places like Arizona, Florida, or Texas. However, the guidance to sel
31-Mar-2020 / Nebraska Game & Parks
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is suspending the sale of nonresident spring turkey hunting permits in a proactive effort to prevent the potential for the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is being done by the Commission in coordination with Gov. Pete Ricketts Executive Order No. 20-11 to help protect the health of Nebraskans by discouraging unnecessary travel.
Game and Parks will stop selling 2020 nonresident spring turkey permits effective immediately. Nonresidents who have purchased permits will be able to use them, but will not be able to purchase additional permits. Nonresidents with Nebraska turkey permits will be contacted by Game and Parks through email within the next week with additional information, including potential refunds.
Nebraska’s spring turkey season opened March 25 for archers. The shotgun season opens April 11 for youth and April 18 for adults. All turkey seasons close May 31.
The agency in late March closed all parks offices and commission offices; service and education centers; and other facilities temporarily. Also closed in April, with a possible extension period, are state park and recreation area lodges, cabins, and public shower buildings.
State parks, recreation areas and campgrounds remain open at this time, as are a limited number of public restrooms, which are sanitized regularly per Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommendations.
For the most up-to-date information on closures and event cancellations or postponements, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/healthinfo.
31-Mar-2020 / Nebraska State Patrol
MARCH 31, 2020 (NORTH PLATTE, NEB.) — Investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP), with the assistance of the Imperial Police Department, have arrested a Chase County man on multiple charges following an investigation into reported sexual assaults of a child.
In February, NSP was notified by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services that a series of assaults had been reported to them. NSP immediately opened an investigation, which has determined that the assaults began in 2015 and continued until this year.
On Monday, March 30, officers with the Imperial Police Department arrested Richard Butt, 66, of Imperial. Butt was lodged in Chase County Jail for 1st degree sexual assault of a child and 3rd degree sexual assault of a child.
The investigation remains ongoing and additional charges are possible.