Gov. Ricketts COVID-19 update: Testing to transition from pop-up sites to hospitals, pharmacies

Test Nebraska hitting capacity-level numbers this week
Gov. Pete Ricketts updates Nebraska's COVID-19 response during his daily news conference Friday...
Gov. Pete Ricketts updates Nebraska's COVID-19 response during his daily news conference Friday morning, July 10, 2020.(WOWT)
Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 8:15 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Gov. Pete Ricketts and other Nebraska officials will give an update on the state’s COVID-19 response Friday morning. Watch that livestream here and on the 6 News Facebook page.

“So far, here in the state of Nebraska, we have seen that our hospitalizations have continued to decline,” Ricketts said.

The state hit its high — 257 — on May 27, and today there are about 100 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, out of about 4,000 hospital beds, he said.

Nebraska COVID-19 response update Gov. Pete Ricketts and other Nebraska officials give an update on the state's COVID-19 response. Details:

Posted by WOWT 6 News on Friday, July 10, 2020

“Our cases have been relatively steady, so that’s good news, too,” he said. “But again, this only happens if we continue to practice social distancing.”

Keep six feet away from other people when in public areas.

“If you’re going to go into an enclosed, confined space — like, say, a store — wearing a mask is a good idea,” Ricketts said.

Another big part about managing coronavirus in Nebraska on an ongoing basis is testing and then isolating those who have the virus and quarantining those who may have been exposed, he said.

Test Nebraska hit a record number of daily tests on Tuesday with more than 3,600 people swabbed, he said.

Collapsing the timeframe for test results is key as well, Ricketts said.

Last week, Test Nebraska’s turnaround for test results was 31 hours, Nebraska Medicine took 38 hours, and Nebraska Public Health Lab took 51 hours, he said.

“We have been having some issues... with regard to some of the commercial labs,” he said.

Quest Diagnositics were taking 113 hours to provide results, and LabCorps results were taking 120 hours last week.

Ricketts encouraged Nebraskans to continue signing up at Test Nebraska, noting that more than 214,000 have signed up for the assessments.

The governor said that mobile testing labs will be transitioning soon from Nebraska National Guard to hospitals and pharmacies.

There’s going to be a learning curve during the transition but personnel will work toward efficient testing at new locations with new groups of people handling those tests.

Ricketts also noted that Becton, Dickinson & Co., commonly known as BD, which has four facilities around the state, is investing $70 million to create syringes and needles needed to administer a vaccine, once one becomes available.

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