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