Gov. Ricketts reports Test Nebraska up to 2,400 COVID-19 tests daily
Gov. Pete Ricketts and other Nebraska officials gave an update on the state's COVID-19 response at 2 p.m. Thursday.
As of Thursday, Ricketts said hospitals in the state have 41 percent of medical and surgical beds available, 41 percent of ICU beds are available and 77 percent of ventilators are available.
Ricketts proclaimed June as Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska.
The ethanol industry and the University of Nebraska have partnered to produce hand sanitizer in the wake of the pandemic.
NU President Ted Carter, Jr. thanked Green Plains, an ethanol producer in Omaha, for the help with producing hand sanitizer and also thanked faculty at the university for pitching in extra time on top of their regular jobs to the effort.
More than 160,000 gallons of hand sanitizer has been produced through the partnership, Carter said. Shipments of sanitizer are being sent to meatpacking facilities and daycares in the state.
Green Plains President and CEO Todd Becker said they originally thought the project would be small when they were first contacted by the university.
"Over a $1 million in alcohol we have donated to the state for use in cleaning materials and sanitizer," he said.
Ricketts said the Paycheck Protection Program has received $7.8 billion from the federal government so far.
Ricketts was asked if the state was still trying to reach the goal of processing 3,000 tests per day through Test Nebraska. He said yes, the labs in Nebraska have almost enough capacity now to do so and have reached 2,400 per day.
Asked whether someone can be tested through Test Nebraska twice. Ricketts said yes.
Regarding longterm care facilities and meat processing plants, Dr. Gary Anthone, director of Public Health for DHHS said 3,929 confirmed cases have been reported from meat processing plants.
Athone said that 14 people have died out of that group while 170 have been hospitalized.
In longterm care, there are 126 facilities in Nebraska have had either a resident or staff member test positive. Among residents, 533 have tested positive and 440 staff members.
Sixteen facilities in the last two weeks have reported positive cases. There have been 98 deaths among residents.
Nebraska has 195 deaths total from COVID-19 as of Thursday. Anthone said longterm care residents have the highest risk of fatal complications from coronavirus.
Asked about contact sports like football, Ricketts said guidelines are being worked on to allow games and practices to resume.
The governor also said he will have an announcement at 2 p.m. Friday.