DHHS releases weekly COVID-19 update
The state case total, as of 5:45 p.m. Central Daylight Time Friday, June 19, is 17,591, marking an increase of 1,078 from last Friday. During the past seven days, the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the state increased by 28 to 244, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) data dashboard.
Local health departments are reporting deaths and cases in their jurisdictions. In the event of a discrepancy between DHHS dashboard data and deaths or cases reported by local public health officials, data reported by the local health department should be considered the most up to date.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children
A third confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) was reported to DHHS earlier this week. The child from Douglas County was hospitalized and later released. MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.
Two cases of MIS-C were reported earlier in June - one in Dawson County and one in Douglas County. Both children were hospitalized and later released.
Disease experts are working to determine the exact cause of MIS-C. But they do know many children with MIS-C had COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19.
Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and fatigue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most children diagnosed with MIS-C have gotten better with medical care, though some deaths have been reported. If parents see potential symptoms of MIS-C in their child, they should contact their health care provider immediately.
Based on what is known about MIS-C, the best way to protect your child is by taking everyday actions to prevent your child and other household members from getting COVID-19 - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children/protect-children.html . More information on MIS-C can be found on the CDC's website - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children/mis-c.html .
Directed Health Measures Continue to Relax
Governor Pete Ricketts has announced the next steps in the state's phased plan to loosen restrictions. The new directed health measures (DHMs), easing restrictions on businesses and activities, will take effect Monday, when 89 of 93 Nebraska counties will move to Phase 3 of reopening. Dakota, Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick counties will move to Phase 2.
The content of the Phase 4 DHMs was also announced this week. An effective date has not been set, however, Phase 4 is being provided so counties know what to expect as the state moves forward.
Outlines of Phase 3 and 4 DHMs are available at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Directed-Health-Measures.aspx along with a document that outlines all phases. Updated guidelines associated with these next steps are also posted at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Nebraska-Guidance-Documents.aspx.
DHHS released Long-Term Care Coronavirus Phasing Guidance (LTC Phasing Guidance) for responsibly easing restrictions in LTC facilities:
- The guidance was developed in conjunction with partner associations and local health departments.
- The guidance mirrors the DHM phases to allow facilities a standardized tool to determine when they should ease restrictions based off of their community data.
- There are three phases that include considerations such as visitation, communal dining, and group activities.
- All LTC facilities are currently considered to be in LTC Phase 1.
- If their local health district is currently under DHM Phase 2, LTC facilities can move to LTC Phase 2 now if they meet the criteria under the LTC Phasing Guidance.
- In order to move to LTC Phase 3, an LTC facility must be located in a local health district under DHM Phase 3, complete baseline testing of their staff, and meet other criteria under the LTC Phasing Guidance.
- If a positive case of coronavirus is identified at a facility after progressing to another phase, the facility must work with the local health department to determine whether circumstances require the facility to return to Phase 1.
- Test Nebraska resources are being offered by the state to help facilitate baseline testing of staff and residents at no charge to facilities for specimen collection materials, laboratory testing, and PPE.
- LTC facilities must register for testing online. The state will schedule facilities for testing and will distribute test kits and PPE to facilities through the local health departments.
- All test specimens will be processed by the CHI St. Elizabeth lab in Lincoln.
- Facilities and the local health departments will receive reports of test results.
- The LTC Phasing Guidance is available on the DHHS coronavirus website - dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus.
In an effort to accommodate expanded testing efforts for all Nebraskans, testing continues to be phased in for the most highly populated counties. People 15 to 35 years old in Douglas can now schedule a test. This is in addition to the following priority categories already open for scheduling a test: first responders, health care providers, meatpacking workers, military employees, anyone working in a long-term care facility or nursing home, people 65 years old and over, and anyone who has been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Additionally, there is not limiting criteria for any individuals living in the state's remaining counties to schedule a test.
Here's where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC's website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19 .
DHHS opened a statewide COVID-19 information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is (402) 552-6645 or toll-free at (833) 998-2275; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CDT, 7 days a week. DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC's website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19 .