Ricketts unveils Test Nebraska COVID-19 initiative, urges Nebraskans to take online assessment
In his daily update Tuesday, Gov. Pete Ricketts unveiled TestNebraska.com and shared details about how the state was going to ramp up testing in coming days and weeks. Tuesday morning, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced during her update that
, the COVID-19 testing initiative partners state government leaders with private companies to widen access to coronavirus testing. Just as in Iowa, Test Nebraska partners the state of Nebraska with
, which will be setting up a lab somewhere in the state.
As we look to loosening up restrictions and opening up the state, Ricketts said, ramping up testing to 3,000 tests per day will allow the state to better identify those who are positive for COVID-19.
"Right now, we've quarantined the entire state," Ricketts said. "What we want to shift to over time is really focusing on those people who are directly impacted — those people who test positive and the people they've had contact with so that we can shift it from quarantining the entire state to really quarantining those people who are going to be most impacted."
The governor said the testing will be rolled out in phases, "similar to the way we've done all of our testing": First will come "the people who are keeping us safe," followed by people who are "highly symptomatic," and then people with one or a few symptoms, with asymptomatic people after that.
Ricketts urged all Nebraskans to fill out the online assessment to help state officials target their testing efforts. He issued the "Test Nebraska Challenge" for the next 10 days, urging residents to go online and fill out the form, then try to get five other Nebraska residents to do so as well.
The governor said he expects the state will be able to be that 3,000-per-day level of testing within about five weeks, if residents participate in the online assessment.
With enough participation, tents will be set up across the state to begin testing the population according to their symptom levels.
Ricketts on Tuesday evening issued a challenge on Twitter, urging Nebraskans not to fall behind Iowa in registered assessments.
Ricketts also gave an update at 5 p.m. that was translated into Spanish. [