Ricketts: ‘We Can’t Get Cocky’ With COVID-19 Response


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks during a news conference in Lincoln., Thursday, June 25, 2020, to update Nebraska’s response to the coronavirus. (AP)
By 
Grant Schulte
The Associated Press

Lincoln – Nebraska is seeing fewer new cases of the coronavirus and its hospitals are well-positioned to treat patients, but that could change quickly if residents don’t continue to take safety precautions, Gov. Pete Ricketts said last Thursday.

Ricketts said the state is likely to see another uptick in virus cases due to relaxed social distancing restrictions and recent mass protests.

“While we’re in a good position right now, we can’t get cocky,” Ricketts said at a news conference. “We’ve got to continue to manage this.”

Nebraska never imposed a formal stay-home order as many other states did, but Ricketts effectively closed restaurants and bars and forced the cancellation of large gatherings to keep the virus from spreading. He has gradually been easing those restrictions, seeking to strike a balance between public health and the need to resume normal life.

As of last Thursday, Nebraska officials have confirmed 18,221 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began out of 163,368 people who were tested. Of those known cases, 257 people have died.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness.

State officials also detailed some of their plans Thursday for how they intend to spend a small part of the $1.25 billion Nebraska received from the federal coronavirus relief package.

Dannette Smith, the CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, said the state will set aside $85 million for nonprofit groups that help people who are struggling to feed or house themselves and people with mental health problems.

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