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As State Covid Total Approaches 17,500, Ricketts Witholds Relief To Counties Who Require Mask Use


State health officials announced 189 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 17,415 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, and 240 deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services says 42 percent of hospital beds and 80 percent of ventilators are available. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says counties that require masks in government offices will not be eligible for coronavirus relief funds. The governor said yesterday that a mandatory mask policy would not "follow the guidelines," and would keep the county from accessing the money given to the state in the CARES act. The governor met with President Trump yesterday to discuss Nebraska's reopening process. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the mandate seems at odds with the Governor’s usual message encouraging people to wear masks to slow the spread of the virus. But his spokesman, Taylor Gage, says the governor “does not believe that failure to wear a mask should be the basis for denying taxpayers' services.” Some $100 million has been alloted to Nebraska counties as part of the federal economic rescue law.

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