BEATRICE – Nebraska has a very low level of hospitalizations, from Covid-19….and Monday, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the State of Emergency declared for Covid back on March 30th, 2020…will now expire at midnight, June 30th.
"You may recall, when we first implemented Test Nebraska last year, this created a burden-free, cost-free way for Nebraskans to get tested. We have tested 772,000 Nebraskans through the program. At one point, Test Nebraska made up more than half of all the tests that were going on here in the state. But, with the addition of other testing capacity and the few cases that we have, we're going to be ending the Test Nebraska contract on July 31st. The last day to get a test at Test Nebraska, will be July 18th."
There were 27 people as of Monday in the hospital from Covid-19 across Nebraska. Ricketts said public health districts can wind down their use of risk dials, though he acknowledged that the coronavirus will be around, for some time.
"The virus is out there in the community, and this was actually, I think, one of the mistakes of some of the lockdowns...was that it created a sense that you can somehow stop the virus. You cannot stop it. It's a virus. In fact, that's one of the things folks at UNMC told us early on.....this is a virus, you cannot stop it. You can only slow it down enough to preserve your hospital capacity, and that's what we did here in Nebraska."
Ricketts says its important for people to get the vaccine against the virus and continue to take the basic precautions that became common over the past year.
The Governor addressed the opening of schools this coming fall.
"Nebraska was the sixth-best state for kids in classrooms and that is the best way for most kids to learn. That was fantastic that our educators worked so hard, did double duty preparing to allow kids to be in classrooms and still accommodating kids who were remote. All that, was great. But now, it's time to return to normal. My expectation is, that kids will be in classrooms in the fall. And, that there will be no masks or vaccines required."
Ricketts also lauded the efforts of the university system to conduct in-person classes along with online learning. Ricketts has opposed vaccine mandates or passports, favoring a voluntary approach.
Ricketts said Nebraskans did a great job of working through several months of the pandemic, by doing the right things.
"Our hospitals, our doctors, our nurses all did a great job of learning how to be able to take care of people. We saw, for example, mortality rates at St. Francis drop by the week, early on in April last year as doctors and nurses got better at treating it. We saw new treatments come out, like the monoclonal antibody treatment...which made a significant difference in how people were able to fight off that virus. Our health care workers did a great job in helping people recover from this."
The Kaiser Family Foundation, Ricketts said, ranked Nebraska the third-best state for people who contracted the coronavirus, surviving it.