WED MAR 25 COVID-19 UPDATES: 2 exposure sites identified in Fremont; Ricketts signs relief bill

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(WOWT) -- Below is a review of Wednesday's local, state, and national developments in the COVID-19 outbreak.

10:42 p.m. -- The Senate late Wednesday unanimously passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.

9:35 p.m. -- Hy-Vee updated their employee benefits to assist their employees during the coronavirus outbreak. Along with giving employees a 10 percent raise.

8:45 p.m. -- Lancaster, Sauder, and Dodge counties have been added to the Directed Health Measure for Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties by Gov. Ricketts.

8:30 p.m. -- Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that the Small Business Administration has issued a statewide economic injury declaration for Nebraska. The declaration qualifies small businesses to apply for SBA disaster assistance loans.

7:08 p.m. -- Three Rivers Public Health Department confirms three new cases — one in Dodge County, one in Washington County, and one in Saunders County — and identifies two sites of possible community exposure in Fremont.

6:14 p.m. -- Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signs LB-1198, providing $83 million in emergency funds to the state to fight coronavirus.

5:49 p.m. -- OPS issued communications to families instructing "if you are health and comfortable doing so," to come to school during assigned timeframes to pick up school materials left behind in classrooms. Staff have been also been working to prepare learning packets for students, including those in special education programs.

5:11 p.m. -- The $2 trillion U.S. aid bill hit snags in Senate as four conservative Republican senators demanded changes, saying the legislation as written “incentivizes layoffs" and should be altered to ensure employees don't earn more money if they're laid off than if they're working.

5:08 p.m. -- Nebraska Game and Parks Commission announces it will temporarily close state park lodging in April.

4:54 p.m. -- President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force gave its daily update. Trump said public health officials and economists were “working to develop a sophisticated plan to open the economy as soon as the time is right — based on the best science, the best modeling and the best medical research there is anywhere on earth.”

4:32 p.m. -- Douglas County Health Department confirms two new cases: two women — one in her 30s and another in her 40s. The health department's epidemiology team is investigating their cases.

4:19 p.m. -- Blair announced it will hold a news conference at 9 a.m. Thursday to provide updates on coronavirus issue in Washington County.

4:03 p.m. -- Baker's announced new store hours, including a special hour of shopping restricted to seniors and other vulnerable customers; plus free pick-up. The store chain is also hiring, and is installing Plexiglass at check-out stations to protect employees and customers.

4 p.m. -- Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signs an executive order postponing evictions across the state under circumstances relating to coronavirus until May 31.

3:48 p.m. -- Midland University announces it will waive ACT/SAT scores for 2020 high school graduates, in order to ease concerns of potential students preparing for college.

2:46 p.m. -- Chef Floyd Cardoz, 59, who competed on “Top Chef,” won “Top Chef Masters” and operated successful restaurants in both India and New York, died of complications from the coronavirus.

2:12 p.m. -- A Children's Hospital health-care provider who works in the neonatal intensive-care unit tested positive over the weekend. The person had contact with 10 patients, who families have all been notified.

2:06 p.m. -- Cooking more meals at home, Americans are stockpiling eggs during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to supply shortages and a spike in prices at some supermarkets.

1:58 p.m. -- Authorities in New York City have mobilized, setting up a makeshift morgue and putting out a call for more doctors and nurses for fear the number of sick will explode in a matter of weeks.

1:55 p.m. -- Three Rivers Public Health District says case reported in Saunders County on Tuesday was community spread.

1:41 p.m. -- Nebraska Legislature passes $83 million in emergency funding. The bill now heads to Gov. Pete Ricketts' desk.

1:37 p.m. -- Wall Street is heading for a record-setting day of big gains as the U.S. inches closer to voting on a $2 trillion aid package. The S&P 500 was up 4.7% in afternoon trading after shaking off a wobbly start to the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 1,200 points, or 6%. The Dow had surged 11.4% Tuesday, its biggest gain since 1933.

11:54 a.m. -- Waffle House announces it has shut down all 418 U.S. locations.

11:23 a.m. -- The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services advises anyone traveling to states or countries with "widespread transmission" is asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return.

10:54 a.m. -- Iowa reports 21 new coronavirus cases.

9:07 a.m. -- Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, and Publix installing Plexiglas barriers at check-outs.

8:46 a.m. -- Jackson Browne reports he has tested positive for coronavirus.

8:39 a.m. -- Stocks open higher on Wall Street as aid bill moves to Senate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2%.

7:27 a.m. -- Britain's Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus. His wife Camilla, 72, has tested negative.

6:33 a.m. -- Spain becomes the second country, after Italy, to surpass China's number of coronavirus fatalities. The death toll there shot up by more than 700 for a total of over 3,400, eclipsing the number of fatalities in China, where the outbreak began.

5:03 a.m. -- U.S. stimulus deal lifts world markets. Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 8% on word of the deal after getting a boost from the decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics.

2:19 a.m. -- India locks down its 1.3 billion population.

1:14 a.m. -- Asian shares jump after Dow sees biggest gain since 1933.

12:08 a.m. -- Congressional leaders, White House reach deal on massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, according to the Associated Press.


RELATED: More coverage | Case map | Metro exposure sites | INFO


Wednesday's planned livestreams


  • 11 a.m. -- Senate convenes for vote on $2 trillion emergency bill [WATCH]
  • 1:30 p.m. -- Nebraska Legislature vote on $83 million aid bill [WATCH]
  • 4 p.m. -- Q&A with UNMC-UNO Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold [WATCH]
  • 2 p.m. -- Update from Gov. Pete Ricketts and other Nebraska officials [WATCH]
  • 2:30 p.m. -- Update from Gov. Kim Reynolds and other Iowa officials [WATCH
  • 5 p.m. -- White House Coronavirus Task Force update [WATCH]