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COVID 19

Thousands Of Applicants Strain Vaccine Registration Portal

Jan 21, 2021

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department's online COVID-19 vaccine registration form is experiencing technical difficulties.  The department says the problems are being caused by an extremely high volume of users.  They say as of 8:30 yesterday morning, 100 people were trying to register every second.  As of 9:30 a.m., more than 11-thousand people had registered.  The department says pages may take longer than normal to load, and those who are unable to get through should try again. 

  

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s campaign to vaccinate people for the coronavirus is further along in some rural parts of the state. At least half a dozen health districts across the state have already started giving vaccines to seniors living outside long-term care facilities, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. Officials in Lincoln and Omaha are still working to vaccinate health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. State health officials have said they expected the campaign to progress at different rates throughout parts of Nebraska.

Tyson To Offer COVID-19 Vaccinations At Meatpacking Plants

Jan 15, 2021

(Waterloo, IA)  --  Tyson Foods will be vaccinating its workers for COVID-19. Several Tyson meatpacking plants in Iowa experienced severe outbreaks last year which led to several lawsuits. The company is now providing mobile clinics to offer on-site vaccinations for workers at its plants. Iowa will start allowing meatpacking workers to receive COVID-19 shots next month.

OPS Announces In-Person Learning Plan

Jan 13, 2021

(Omaha, NE)  --  The Omaha Public School District is working towards returning to in-person learning.  District officials say there will be phased transitions to in-person learning five days per week.  Elementary and middle schools will transition to five-days in-person learning per week on February 2nd, while high schools will transition to five days in-person learning per week on February 17th.  The district's Remote Learning Program will continue to be available.

Nebraska.gov

A new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus that has been discovered in five states is probably in Nebraska as well, but officials say they haven’t yet confirmed its presence. Dr. Gary Anthone says the new strain is concerning because it could lead to an increase in hospitalizations in Nebraska. Anthone says the state’s public health lab is purchasing its own equipment to test for the mutated virus. The new strain has led to a national lockdown in England, and the virus has been detected in California, Florida, New York, Georgia, and neighboring Colorado. 

No Vaccine For Undocumented Meat Packers, Says Ricketts

Jan 6, 2021
WOWT

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is saying only documented workers in meatpacking plants will get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Ricketts says people who work in the plants are supposed to be in the U.S. legally, and there will be no conflict since people need to be in the country legally to work in the food-processing program.  UFCW Local 293 officials tell WOWT that there are plenty of undocumented workers employed in the state's meatpacking plants, and that the best way to keep the plants running is to vaccinate everyone. 

Brushbuck Wildlife Tours

Officials in central Nebraska are worried that next spring’s sandhill crane viewing season will be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic just like this year’s was and hurt the area’s economy. The annual migration of sandhill cranes across central Nebraska normally draws thousands of visitors to the area who want to see the birds gather along the Platte River in the midst of their annual migration. Kearney Visitor Bureau Executive Director Roger Jasnoch told the Kearney Hub that there is little demand for the hotel rooms in the area that visitors normally fill.   

Pandemic or not, it's still the holidays with the Omaha Symphony, though a little different this year!  No live audience allowed due to the pandemic, but that won’t stop the Omaha Symphony from providing a holiday extravaganza…Free of charge to all of the Greater Omaha metro!

Conductor Ernest Richardson and Stage Director/Choreographer Parker Esse joined Mike Hogan for a three-part “Live & Local” interview to discuss how they tackled the Herculean task of adapting, restaging, filming, and editing this huge production in a safe, healthy, and entertaining manner.  The holidays will not be stopped, and these two tell the story of how the holiday show was saved.

Omaha Symphony has teamed up with WOWT Channel 6 to broadcast “Physicians Mutual Presents: Home for the Holidays with the Omaha Symphony” straight to your home!  The holiday program audiences have grown to love will feature a physically distanced orchestra, singers, and dancers filmed remotely.  It is with great pride and a team effort that Omaha Symphony brings this holiday tradition safely to the homes of Omahans completely free of charge as a gift to the community.  The program will air December 23rd at 7:00 p.m. and December 25th at 1:00 p.m. on WOWT. 

For more information on how you can join them for Christmas pop tunes, orchestral features, and exciting dance numbers, or to see a program of the numbers, you can go to http://www.omahasymphony.org/concerts/home-for-the-holidays

KWWL

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is urging everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccine when it's available to them, after receiving her first dose over the weekend. The senator posted a series of tweets showing her getting vaccinated and saying that with the vaccine, we are one step closer to defeating the virus. She added that everyone should continue wearing masks, practice social distancing and continue to follow other protocols put in place to protect one another.

OCP legend Camille Metoyer Moten makes her highly-anticipated return to the stage for an intimate holiday affair.  Christmas In My Heart is all the wonder and magic of the season in concert.  You can light your holiday candles, cozy up on the couch and let Camille’s soaring voice warm your heart with beloved holiday classics, contemporary Christmas melodies and everything in between.

Camille joined Mike Hogan for a "Live & Local" interview about the show, the changes that were made to keep it a safe and healthy experience for all, and to discuss her hall of fame career.

More information about how to stream the show is available at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/43129

The Omaha Public Library has been able to open all 12 of its branches, curbside pickup service is still available, as are many other services offered by the library. 

Marketing Manager of the Omaha Public Library, Emily Getzschman, joined Mike Hogan in a two-part "Live & Local" chat to catch us up on all the latest news from our largest repository of knowledge and entertainment.  She also gives her personal book recommendations!

For more information or to join the library, https://omahalibrary.org/

The Big Garden is working harder than ever to meet the increasing need for fresh, healthy produce in local pantries and food distribution programs in our community.  This year, the pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in food insecurity.  Families and individuals are struggling to make ends meet because of illness or job reduction.  According to Food Bank for the Heartland, 1 in 4 children in our area are food insecure.  The demand at local pantries has increased more than 50%.

As Development Director Cami Cavanaugh Rawlings explains to Mike Hogan on "Live & Local," The Big Garden has responded to the need this year by investing more heavily in food production than ever before.  As of this week, they’ve grown 15,000 pounds of fresh produce in 2020, all of which has been donated to people in need.  And they’re not done yet.  For the first time ever, they are firing up two 24x80 foot greenhouses to grow as much emergency food as possible throughout the winter months.

And there's more.  To find more information or discover how you can help feed our neighbors in need, you can go to www.BigGarden.org.

Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NEHII), a Health Information Exchange (HIE) joins forces with Unite Us, the technology company that connects health and social care providers, in a unique and innovative partnership that will transform service delivery and care coordination throughout Nebraska.

This partnership will break down existing barriers between clinical and social care providers, enabling them to work together to provide comprehensive, whole-person care with trackable outcomes data.

In the sound clips below, 'NEHII' CEO, Jaime Bland, and 'Unite Us' Founder and President, Taylor Justice, joined Mike Hogan "Live & Local" in a two-part interview to talk about the joint effort to improve the lives of Nebraskans.  

More information for getting help or volunteering can be found at https://nebraska.uniteus.com/ and https://nehii.org/

ACLU of Nebraska

Even as a vaccine began trickling out to states this week, Nebraska's prisons continue to struggle with the spread of the coronavirus. The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says 18 staff members across the state's prison system have tested positive for the virus since the end of last week. On Saturday, the department said 11 staffers had tested positive. Another three infected staffers were announced Sunday, and late Monday, the department said four more staffers had tested positive.

Financial Times

Nebraska has received its first shipments of the new coronavirus vaccine and expects to get more than 100,000 doses this month to treat front-line health care workers. Dr. Gary Anthone, Nebraska’s chief medical officer, says the initial shipments had arrived at two hospitals as of mid-morning Monday. State officials expected to get all 15,600 of the first week's doses in the coming 48 hours. Nebraska’s distribution plan calls for the first vaccine doses to go to front-line health workers and other key professions, including meatpacking workers and teachers. Gov.

Freightwaves

Nebraska reported its smallest number of new virus cases since early November on Saturday as the state prepares for the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine to arrive. The state said 811 new virus cases were reported Saturday to give the state a total of 147,688 cases since the pandemic began. That marked the first time since Nov. 2 that the daily tally of new cases was below 1,000. Nebraska said 711 people were hospitalized with the virus on Saturday, which was down from 759 the day before.

The Douglas County Health Department and Omaha Community Foundation have partnered to launch a county-wide awareness campaign to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Omaha community.  Do Right, Right Now is a practical call for a unified response to COVID-19.

As Nebraskans, we pride ourselves on doing the right thing, caring for one another, and working together to address problems and affect change.  We can get the good life back when we Do Right, Right Now.


The messages focus around the 3 W’s (Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance) as well as the importance of getting flu shots.  The goal is for the message to be one of hope, positivity, and encouragement that will resonate with people who may be dealing with pandemic-fatigue.

Douglas County Health Director, Dr. Adi Pour joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss the campaign and give some candid answers on the current state of the pandemic, politicians, and human nature in this time of crisis.


Both episodes of this two-part interview are below.  More information on how to stay healthy can be found at https://dorightrightnow.org/

Hunger exists in every county in Nebraska and Iowa, and one in four Heartland children is food insecure. You can make this year a little brighter for those in need this holiday season!

Now in its 14th year, the campaign is a rallying call to support essential hunger relief efforts and provide meals for those in need – and this year, the need is even greater.  More families than ever are experiencing financial hardship and food insecurity due to the impact of the Pandemic.

Sandra Hulm, Vice President of Procurement at ConAgra Brands took the time to chat with Mike Hogan “Live & Local” about the severity of the food insecurity problem right here in Nebraska and Western Iowa. 

While the pandemic has impacted all of our lives, we do our best to continue the holiday traditions that make this season memorable.

And it just isn’t Christmas without “A Christmas Carol!”  Director Kimberly Faith Hickman joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss how changes were made so everyone can safely experience Omaha’s favorite holiday tradition in a re-imagined small cast version with eight cast members, filmed, and ready for streaming directly into everyone’s home!  

In this two-part interview, Kimberly chats about the difficult decision to cancel the live performances and how the team at Omaha Community Playhouse came together to film this holiday classic and have it ready for all to enjoy in a safe, healthy, and comfortable atmosphere.

For information about how you can still enjoy Ebenezer Scrooge’s life-changing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas is filled with stunning Victorian costumes, festive music and crisp, wintry sets, one can go to the website https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/acc/

"A Christmas Carol" is a beautiful reminder that love and generosity are the heart of the Christmas holiday.


KSLA

Cities in Nebraska juggle the issue of whether to require masks as the state's governor continues to resist issuing a statewide mask mandate while the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on the state. Grand Island police have made clear they'll enforce that city's mandate, passed last week, by charging violators with public nuisance counts. A surge in cases in recent weeks led Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts to reissue some statewide restrictions, including requiring masks in salons and tattoo parlors. But Ricketts has refused to impose a statewide mask mandate.

KOLN

Nebraska has passed the grim milestone of 1,000 deaths linked to the coronavirus, and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 remains high in the state. Officials reported 29 new deaths Monday to give the state 1,018 total since the pandemic began. The state also reported 1,941 new cases of the virus to push the total up to 128,407. The number of people being treated for the virus in hospitals grew Monday to 907 from the previous day’s 896. That remains below the record of 987 that was set on Nov. 20, but the total is four times higher than it was two months ago. 

CNBC

Gov. Pete Ricketts is extending Nebraska’s current coronavirus restrictions through December as the number of residents hospitalized with the virus dipped below 900 for the first time in more than two weeks. The current restrictions require masks in certain businesses, such as salons and tattoo parlors, where it’s difficult to maintain 6 feet of distance between people. They had been set to expire Monday. Despite the decline in hospitalizations, hospitals remained strained across the state.

Foodbank for the Heartland has a mission: To provide emergency and supplemental food to the people in need in Nebraska and western Iowa.  In a pandemic induced climate of ever increasing food insecurity, Foodbank for the Heartland needs your help now more than ever…Through donations, volunteering your time to fill backpacks in a socially distanced environment, or to simply drive through on December 5th and drop of some non-perishable foods.

Communications Manager Angie Grote chatted with Mike Hogan “Live & Local” about the great work being done and the desperate needs still to be met.

More information can be found at https://foodbankheartland.org/

Norfolk Daily News

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is acknowledging that state officials should have moved more quickly to interview people who contracted the coronavirus in recent weeks so they could warn others who may have been exposed. Ricketts says the recent surge in virus cases created a backlog of people who needed to be called, and officials within his administration didn’t add more workers to help with the extra workload. The state now has a backlog of 2,600 people who still need to contacted.

Omaha Children's Museum will be able to make several updates to air quality, disinfecting process of high-touch science center balls, and additional social distancing measures thanks to more than $3.6 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, funding. The planned updates are all anticipated to be completed by Dec. 31, 2020.

Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Kim Reiner, chatted with Mike Hogan about the massive changes which will protect the health and fun of the families that visit.  There are even safety measures in place so kids can chat with the big fella himself, Santa Claus!

Changes include more than 30 units of dual method air filters throughout the museum in areas used by the public as well as administrative offices. These filters will eliminate 99.9% of pathogens in the air with continuous use using HEPA filters and UVC light to kill, viruses, bacteria, and molds. 

The museum will install UVC lights in the tubes of the Super Gravitron. This lights are capable of killing viruses, bacteria, and molds. The museum was using this technology before in a stand-alone machine multiple times a day. The new installation will mean as children put balls into the inputs, they will be disinfected before they come out of the hopper and are used by another child. 

Additional updates to the bathrooms, including touchless doorhandles and faucets, as well as a touchless exit will help reduce potential contact with viruses on surfaces and much more!
More information can be found at https://www.ocm.org/

All previous safety measures, including required masks for ages 5 and older, still apply. See  for complete details.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mission is to fight hate and bigotry and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.  The ADL wanted to find away to bring our community together, to reflect on the struggles and triumphs that led us to this unique moment in history and to dream of what the future can hold.

That is where the idea of the Walk Against Hate started.  Associate Director Murphy Scott Wulfgar and Education Director Halley Taylor chat with Mike Hogan “Live & Local” about the “civil rights scavenger hunt” of sorts.

Walk Against Hate is an interactive, guided tour of multiple locations (accessible online or on the ground—socially distanced of course) across the Omaha Metropolitan Area that hold significance to the evolution or future of civil rights and civil liberties in our community.

More information can be found at http://www.adlplains.com/.


The way we think about the role transportation has in our lives has changed this year.  This has led to significant behavior changes, and it’s opened new avenues for us to explore.  What different transportation solutions will make our city a more vibrant, equitable and accessible for everyone?  We’re here to maximize this opportunity.

Stephen Osberg is the Director of Transportation Development for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.  He took some time to explain to Mike Hogan what the ConnectGo initiative is, how it will change the face of transportation in the greater Omaha metro, and how your voice needs to be heard.

More information can be found at https://www.omahachamber.org/connectgo/.


Giving Tuesday on December 1st is a time to give, do, and share together. All acts of generosity move our metro toward a better future.  Share Omaha provides a one-stop resource center to give or find volunteer opportunities. 


Executive Director of Share Omaha, Marjorie Maas, joins Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss all the different facets provided by the Share Omaha website.  For example, one can give early to a cause you care about at SHAREomaha.org – Use donation code GIVING TUESDAY or even volunteer to serve virtually and share your professional skills.  The ShareOmaha.com website also collects items through shopping wish lists and then sending items directly to local causes.


You can join the fun, early or on December 1st, by going to https://shareomaha.org/givingtuesday.

UNMC

A prominent Nebraska infectious disease expert is sounding the alarm about the state’s surging coronavirus cases and calling for a statewide mask mandate, which Gov. Pete Ricketts has repeatedly refused to issue. Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said Thursday that the pandemic has reached its most dangerous point since the virus outbreak began earlier this year and described the recent increase in virus hospitalizations as unsustainable.

Metro launched Omaha Rapid Bus Transit (ORBT) service on Nov. 18, 2020 — the most significant mass transit investment this region has seen in decades. 

Metro CEO Lauren Cencic joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss how ORBT unites smart technology and streamlined travel for faster, more frequent public transportation, serving an eight-mile route along Dodge and Douglas streets from downtown Omaha to Westroads Mall.  ORBT’s enhanced stations, spacious vehicles, and travel upgrades connect more people, more frequently.  And best of all, ORBT is fare free for the first four months so you can  get on board and enjoy your ride!

For more information, go to https://www.ometro.com/

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