16 officials send letter to local, state leaders urging 'stay-at-home' orders

From left: Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour, and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts
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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) -- Sixteen Douglas County officials on Friday submitted a letter to Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, and Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour urging them to issue "stay-at-home" orders through the end of April.

"The current orders to self-quarantine, if possible, and practice of social distancing are not sufficient," the letter states.

PDF: Read the letter from 16 public officials

In the letter, the officials say the order is needed for reasons that include:

  • An insufficient number of COVID-19 tests have been performed in Nebraska.
  • There's an ongoing national shortage of personal protective equipment, also known as PPEs.
  • The state has already made arrangement to convert UNO, UNL, and UNK dorms into hospitals and quarantine facilities.
  • A lack of community testing is giving a false sense of security given new information about COVID-19 might be spreading.
  • Governors of other states who have issued stay-at-home orders have asked remaining states to do so.
  • Working Nebraskans are being asked to sacrifice their health and safety.
  • The projected COVID-19 death toll is rising in Nebraska.

The letter also cites a recommendation by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has also led the U.S. COVID-19 response: "The modeling for deaths related to COVID-19 is contingent on every state being under a stay at home order from today until the end of May. If we do not have a stay at home order instituted immediately there will be an additional loss of life."

The 16 officials named at the bottom of the letter are:

  • Public Service Commissioner Crystal Rhoades
  • Douglas County Commissioner Mike Boyle
  • State Sen. Tony Vargas
  • State Sen. Justin Wayne
  • State Sen. Megan Hunt
  • State Sen. Mike McDonnell
  • Omaha City Councilman Vinny Palermo
  • OPS Board Member Marque Snow
  • OPS Board Member Amanda Ryan
  • OPS Board Member Kimara Snipe
  • OPPD Board Member Amanda Bogner
  • Learning Community Board Member Brian Thommes
  • MCC Board Member Ron Hug
  • MCC Board Member Linda McDermitt
  • MCC Board Member Dave Pantos
  • Westside District 66 School Board Director Dana Blakley