Governor Pete Ricketts announced a new plan to scale up Nebraska’s capability to test for COVID-19 during his April 21 briefing. The State is launching a public-private partnership to significantly expand testing in Nebraska over the next several weeks. The program will enlist Nebraskans to take an assessment, get tested, and track their health.
Gov. Ricketts introduced four members of the team partnering with the State to expand testing:Dave Elkington, Founder & Chairman of Xant Mark Newman, Founder & CEO of Nomi Health Ryan Smith, CEO & Co-Founder of Qualtrics Josh James, Founder & CEO of Domo
Gov. Ricketts: Test NebraskaI’m excited to roll out our Test Nebraska initiative to accelerate our ability to defeat the virus and get Nebraskans back to work. This broad-scale testing program will give us a clearer view of the health of our state. Having good data will give us the confidence we need to move forward. To accomplish testing on a large scale, we’ve partnered with an organization that has done similar work in Utah and is launching a program in Iowa today as well. To help us prepare for this expanded testing, we are asking all Nebraskans to participate in the #TestNebraskaChallenge. Please go to TestNebraska.com and sign up today. Then go on social media and challenge five friends to do the same.
Dave Elkington: Test NebraskaThis initiative started in Utah. As residents, we decided that we couldn’t expect our government to take care of everything on its own. We started a public-private partnership where a number of companies came together to leverage their technologies and relationships to solve this testing capacity problem. We’ve only been running our program in Utah for two-and-a-half to three weeks. Yesterday, we did nearly 3,000 tests there in one day. The goal is not merely to determine whether people are infected or not. We want to restore confidence so that people can get back to work, spend time with family and friends, and resume their usual day-to-day activities. In the short-term, we’ll test all caregivers, first responders, and those with severe symptoms. In the middle-term, we’ll test anyone who is symptomatic. Over the long-term, we’ll begin population sampling—testing even those people who have not shown any symptoms.
Mark Newman: Test NebraskaOur program works in three parts: we assess, test, and track.
First, Nebraskans can go to TestNebraska.com to take an initial assessment. This helps our team and State epidemiologists to gauge the general health of various communities and to decide where to set up testing sites. Second, we’ll set up testing in different locations across the state in the next 2-5 weeks. Our testing sites will have multiple kits and multiple test options. Third, we’ll check in with everyone who has been assessed, asking 2-3 follow up questions to track their well-being.
Ryan Smith: Test NebraskaOur company has worked with Nebraska for a while now in higher education. We run one of the largest assessment firms in the world. Every citizen of Nebraska can go in and take the assessment. They can then quickly get tested and stay up to date on how they’re doing. All of the data collected is protected with the highest level of security.
Josh James: Test NebraskaThis testing is free. The state and federal government have figured out how to cover the fees for tests. In order to get back to work and reopen society, we need better data. We’re helping to collect this information. We’re also providing a crisis command center to give the State real-time information about what’s taking place here in Nebraska. Additionally, we’re working with the Governor on a campaign to encourage Nebraskans to take the assessment.
Nebraskans can go online to TestNebraska.com to take the initial assessment.
Full video of the April 21 press briefing is available by clicking here.