Governor Pete Ricketts Talks To KCNI/KBBN About The Coronavirus And UNMC

LINCOLN— The coronavirus has been sweeping the globe forcing travel restrictions to Iran and China. 77 countries have reported confirmed cases appearing in countries such as Italy, France, Germany, New Zealand, India, Australia, and the United States.

In the past few days, new cases have emerged in New York, California, and Washington forcing local governments, such as Los Angeles County, to issue a state of emergency. According to the World Health Organization website, globally the virus has infected 93,164 and 3,199 have died.

China has the most confirmed cases of the virus with over 80,000 while the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has reported the second most with 5,328. The United States has reported 108 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

As the virus continues to spread, the University of Nebraska Medical Center is looking to put a stop to it. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts spoke with KCNI/KBBN about the virus and the impact that UNMC has had during this outbreak.

“UNMC are the world-leading experts in this [virus]. We have the best people, the best doctors, we have the best facilities,” said Ricketts.

Rickets also mentioned that the standards to be released from quarantine are higher at UNMC than even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) requires.

“Our standards for releasing them are higher than the CDC standards,” said Ricketts. “We are requiring them to go through three tests where they test negative over 24 hours apiece before being released.”

While the care continues for those being monitored for the virus, UNMC is also leading the way at finding additional tests, developing a vaccine, and conducting the first clinical trials.

Ricketts said, “We really are world leaders here and the state of Nebraska continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control as well as the federal government,” said Ricketts. “We’re [state of Nebraska] also working with the federal government on a new appropriations bill to provide states more resources.”

Ricketts also noted that the state is asking those who have traveled to an area that has experienced the coronavirus outbreak to register with the state so they can track the person’s health. Ricketts also said that families and organizations should be prepared as well by stocking up on food if the virus were to spread to Nebraska.

“[Citizens] should be thinking about this like a big snowstorm that’s coming,” Ricketts said. “You could be stuck at home for a while. Make sure you have a couple of weeks worth of food at home. Check prescription medicines and make sure those are filled. Sometimes we close schools for the flu so that may happen.”

While Nebraska does not currently have any cases of the coronavirus, Ricketts said this is something that should be taken seriously. While the federal and state governments and the local agencies are working to help mitigate the impact of the virus, citizens can help prevent the spread of viruses by taking common health practices of washing hands and staying home when sick.

The entire interview with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will be aired on KCNI Public Affairs (1280 AM, 96.3 FM,, free KCNI Pure Country App) on Monday, March 9 at 10 AM.