Ricketts meets with ag, healthcare leaders on COVID-19

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat
Gov. Ricketts (at podium), NDA Director Steve Wellman (at governor's right), Farm Bureau President 
Steve Nelson (far right),  Bryan Health President and CEO Russ Gronewold (second from left), and CHI Health CEO Cliff Robertson (far left) at the March 24 press briefing.

Governor Pete Ricketts joined with Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman and Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson to discuss the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response in rural Nebraska.

The governor also proclaimed March 22 to 28 as Ag Week in Nebraska and talked about the critical role of the state’s farmers and ranchers in providing a stable supply of food in the United States.

Director Wellman assured Nebraskans of the strong biosecurity measures in place in the state’s agricultural industry.  He emphasized that Nebraska’s livestock and crops are not at risk from the coronavirus.  Steve Nelson highlighted measures taken by the Farm Bureau to engage their members in preparing for COVID-19.

Bryan Health President & CEO Russ Gronewold and CHI Health CEO Cliff Robertson also took part in today’s press event.  The healthcare leaders talked about their organizations’ efforts to expand capacity to test for COVID-19 and care for patients with the virus.  They also assured Nebraskans that hospitals in the state have sufficient resources, staffing, and bed capacity to provide medical care to Nebraskans who need it.  Additionally, they announced that their healthcare networks are discontinuing elective surgeries for the time being to focus resources on the COVID-19 emergency.

Gov. Ricketts also emphasized that travelers returning to Nebraska should self-quarantine for 14 days if they are coming back from abroad or from domestic locations where cases of COVID-19 are widespread, such as Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, New York City, San Francisco, or Seattle.

Full video of the March 24 press briefing is available by clicking here.