‘No plans’ to reinstate Nebraska’s COVID-19 dashboard, state health department says

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday, June 30, 2021, that it...
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday, June 30, 2021, that it would no longer support its online COVID-19 dashboard.(WOWT / Nebraska DHHS)
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 12:49 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Monday it isn’t bringing back the COVID-19 data dashboard in the foreseeable future.

“At this time, there are no plans to bring back the dashboard,” a DHHS spokewoman said in an email to 6 News, citing health privacy protections.

DHHS was able to publish the dashboard previously as Nebraska was under a state of emergency for the pandemic, as declared in an executive order from Gov. Pete Ricketts, she said.

Last week, 11 state senators sent a letter to the governor urging him to reinstate the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard. The next day, the chief medical officers at Nebraska’s major hospital networks said during an announcement about vaccination requirements that they had also lobbied the governor’s office, through the state’s top medical officer, to reinstate the dashboard and were told the state was working to do just that. But the governor’s office said later that day there were no plans to do so.

“Data’s powerful. Data can be educational. It certainly helps us gain line of sight to what’s happening across the state. It helps us plan for what might be expected or be asked of us,” Dr. Harris Frankel of Nebraska Medicine said during Thursday’s announcement.

The dashboard was taken down June 30. Since then, according to the most recent COVID-19 data update provided by the Nebraska DHHS on Wednesday, the state has reported:

  • 7,911 new COVID-19 cases
  • 189 more active COVID-19 hospitalizations
  • 24 more COVID-19 deaths
  • 110,399 more vaccination doses have been administered in Nebraska
  • 2.5% more Nebraskans are considered fully vaccinated, for a total of 50.7%
  • 1.1% additional residents are partially vaccinated, for a total of 4.9%

Read the DHHS statement

“At this time, there are no plans to bring back the dashboard. Most public health information collected by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which includes information about COVID-19, has special statutory protection under Nebraska Revised Statute Section 71-503.01. This statute significantly governs what information the agency can release, and to whom. The agency was able to publish the COVID-19 dashboard because the Governor declared a public state of emergency and signed Executive Order 20-15. That Executive Order partially suspended Section 71-503.01 to permit the agency and local health departments to release potentially identifiable information concerning COVID-19, in an effort to prevent or lessen the threat to public health. Absent Executive Order 20-15, the agency would have been unable to publish its dashboard.”

Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services

Assistant News Director Cassie Crowe contributed to this report.

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